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Von Braun Memorial Symposium brings NASA leaders, aerospace experts to Huntsville

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Alabama’s Rocket City is hosting the 14th annual Wernher Von Braun Memorial Symposium this week. The three-day symposium is bringing professionals and fans of space exploration together to hear from experts and industry leaders.

Jim Way, executive director of the American Astronautical Society, the group that organizes the symposium, said that Huntsville is quickly becoming a hotspot for the aerospace industry.

“So Huntsville has been constantly growing as a space focused and energized community. The growth has been immense, and lots of industry are putting a lot of effort and workforce into the Huntsville area,” Way said.

A number of high-profile space firms have a presence in Huntsville. Earlier this year, the Secretary of the Air Force selected Huntsville as its preferred location to establish headquarters for the U.S. Space Command. Jeff Bezos-owned aerospace company Blue Origin started manufacturing some of its engines in Huntsville last year.

Way said privately owned space companies have revived excitement for space exploration, but that organizations like NASA have been putting in the work for longer.

“A lot of the new companies have reenergized interest in the space industry and exploration in general. I will say that NASA and the industry have been there all along and have been making incredible leaps in technology and advancement,” he said.

The symposium features panels and keynotes from members of NASA leadership discussing a variety of topics from nuclear propulsion in space, to the Artemis program, which is NASA’s mission to put humans back onto the moon by 2024.