Later this morning the 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference kicks off at a hotel in Palo Alto, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley and not far from the NASA Ames Research Center. The three day event, now in its third year, is an opportunity for suborbital vehicle developers to describe their vehicle plans and capabilities, and potential research customers for those vehicle to describe their areas of research and their requirements.
The morning plenary sessions feature an array of special speakers, including Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut who is here in his capacity as a former X-15 test pilot and thus with experience in suborbital flight. Later Monday representatives of five suborbital vehicle developers—Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic, and XCOR Aerospace—will provide updates. Later sessions will focus on selected research topics, from microgravity science to life sciences to astronomy, as well as outreach, media, markets, and policy.
While the conference sessions are not (to the best of my knowledge) being webcast, you can keep tabs on the conference by following the #NSRC2012 hashtag on Twitter, with summaries of key conference events to follow here over the next several days.