SAVE THE DATE: Exploring New Space Frontiers at April 23 USRA Symposium

28 February 2019

COLUMBIA, Md., Feb. 27, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) today unveiled plans for its 50th annual symposium, "Space Exploration: Achievement of the Past 50 Years and Ambitions for the Future," to be held April 23, 2019 at the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), 2101 Constitution Ave, N.W. in Washington, D.C.  All media wishing to attend and cover the event must register for press credentials by Friday, April 18.

Universities Space Research Association Logo (PRNewsfoto/Universities Space Research Ass)


The half-day symposium, scheduled from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT, will convene prominent U.S. and European leaders to review historical milestones in space science and discuss what lies ahead for space research and human spaceflight.

Speakers include:

  • Mr. Jim Bridenstine, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Dr. Marcia McNutt, President, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
  • Hon. Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 NASA astronaut, the last man to walk on the moon, former U.S. senator from New Mexico, and author of Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space
  • Mr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General, European Space Agency
  • Dr. Christine Darden, former NASA aeronautical engineer and researcher featured in Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race"
  • Dr. W. David Cummings, former Universities Space Research Association (USRA) executive director, author of Developments in Space Research and A Documentary History of the Formation of USRA.

A new book by Dr. Cummings showcasing notable USRA accomplishments over the past five decades as well as predictions for future space-related research will also be unveiled.

Beginning at 5:00 pm EDT, a reception celebrating USRA's 50th anniversary will follow for all attendees in the Great Hall.

Media Coverage

All sessions will be on-the-record and may be video- or audio-recorded by accredited journalists, provided symposium proceedings are not disrupted.  A press room and mult-box will be available on-site.  Interviews may be conducted after all sessions conclude at the speakers' individual discretion.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #USRAedu, or on Facebook at

Media Credentials, Inquiries

All media must register for a badge to attend symposium sessions and the reception. Reporters, producers and photojournalists with valid media credentials are encouraged to pre-register via email with their name, news affiliation, title and phone number to Suraiya Farukhi (; (410) 740-6224) by 5:00 pm Friday, April 18.  All media requests received after this deadline will be handled onsite at the symposium on Tuesday, April 23. Both pre-registered and onsite registrants must provide a business card, press pass or equivalent identification at the media registration desk the day of the symposium.  Registration for press is complimentary.

USRA Background

In 1969, at the request of NASA and other federal policymakers, NAS established USRA as an independent, nonprofit bridge for scholars and scientists to study samples of lunar rock and soil collected by Apollo astronauts.  Now – 50 years later – USRA's mission encompasses far broader space- and aeronautics-related sciences exploration through leading-edge research, technology and education programs; space and aeronautics policy formation; and the operation and management of world-class facilities and initiatives through a consortium of 110 universities, the private sector and federal and foreign governments.

USRA's contributions over a half century touch nearly every aspect of space science, research and development and education – from biomedicine and astrophysics to space technology, facility management and operations, and education.  By partnering with NASA, academic institutions worldwide, and industry, USRA has enabled the study of the universe from airborne, ground-based and orbiting observatories as well as from space-based platforms.  Its scientists and engineers have helped develop advanced technologies for complex spacecraft and human exploration into deep space.  USRA's operation of the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory with NASA and Google is also producing some of the most important discoveries of our time.  USRA's workforce development initiatives impact the entire education spectrum – from K-12 STEM and student internship programs at federal laboratories and USRA facilities to the management of NASA's postdoctoral program.

More information about USRA and this symposium are available at

Media Contact

Suraiya Farukhi, Ph.D.

Director, External Communications

office: (410) 740-6224

cell: (443) 812-6945


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SOURCE Universities Space Research Association