Sponsored Content by The Aerospace Corporation

The most exciting time in space: How we got here and what comes next​

TechCrunch was proud to host The Aerospace Corporation at Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco. Here’s an overview of their partner session on the Space Stage.

This unprecedented time in space offers untold possibilities to transform humankind’s relationship with the cosmos and benefit the prosperity and security of all those here on Earth. In this session at Disrupt 2023, leading experts explored what’s new and what’s next in space, from the mega-trends and cutting-edge technologies that will define the next decade to the critical role commercial companies will play in making the most of this exciting time.


Steve Isakowitz, President and CEO, The Aerospace Corporation

Steve Isakowitz is a recognized leader across the government, commercial, space and technology sectors, who has worked tirelessly throughout his career on behalf of the public good in space. He currently serves as president and CEO of The Aerospace Corporation, a leading architect for the nation’s space programs, where he heads up efforts to outpace threats to the country’s national security while nurturing innovative technologies to further a new era of space commercialization and exploration. With his guidance, Aerospace’s national workforce of more than 4,600 employees provides objective technical expertise and thought leadership to solve the hardest problems in space and ensure mission success for space systems and space vehicles. Over the course of his more than 30-year career, Isakowitz has made impactful contributions across a number of prominent roles, including at Virgin Galactic, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Brian Weeden, Director, Program Planning, Secure World Foundation

Dr. Brian Weeden is the director of program planning for Secure World Foundation and has more than 20 years of professional experience in space operations and policy. Dr. Weeden directs strategic planning for future-year projects to meet the Foundation’s goals and objectives, and conducts research on space sustainability issues. He is a member and former chair of the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Space Technologies, a former member of the Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES) to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the former executive director of the Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations (CONFERS). Prior to joining SWF, Dr. Weeden served nine years on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Air Force working in space and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) operations.

Peter Wegner, Chief Strategy Officer, BlackSky

Dr. Peter Wegner is chief technology officer at BlackSky, where he implements BlackSky’s vision for technology across all aspects of the company’s capabilities and systems. He leads BlackSky’s efforts to develop a world-class multi-sensor geospatial intelligence engine. Peter oversees the company’s engagements with strategic stakeholders, ensuring customer needs are aligned with BlackSky’s business imperatives and investments. Prior to BlackSky, Peter was the director of advanced concepts at Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, where he directed investments in new technologies. He also served as director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Operationally Responsive Space Office at Kirtland Air Force Base, where he directed the creation of a national strategy to develop new and innovative techniques to design, build, test, and operate space systems. Peter also served as the technical advisor to the Air Force Space Command Directorate of Requirements and was a research engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, where he developed key innovations such as the ESPA ring. Peter holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Wyoming. He also holds a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering from the University of Arizona.

Susan Karlin, Regular Contributor, Fast Company

Susan Karlin, based in Los Angeles, is a regular contributor to Fast Company, where she covers space science, the future of aviation, autonomous vehicles, and tech design. She has also reported for The New York Times, NPR, Air & Space, Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, and Wired, among others, from such locations as the Arctic and Antarctica, Israel/West Bank, and Southeast Asia. Additionally, she contributed to the bestseller “The Human Face of Big Data.”