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In light of the pandemic, how did Colorado Springs prepare for the 36th Space Conference?

In light of the pandemic, how did Colorado Springs prepare for the 36th Space Conference?

Despite travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, people from 25 countries and leaders of at least 15 international space agencies are expected to travel to Colorado Springs for the annual event showcasing military, civilian and commercial space activities.

The 36th annual Space Conference is expected to attract 7,500 to 8,000 participants to the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and a virtual platform for broadcasting presentations and discussions.

The Space Foundation, which hosts the annual event, continues to follow local, state and federal health and safety guidelines in an effort to mitigate attendance risks and potential exposure to the coronavirus.

“We’ll do everything we can to address these risks, but we’ve also asked attendees to be a part of this process,” Space Foundation spokesperson Rich Cooper told SpaceNews.

Broadmoor attendees will be required to wear masks indoors. The Space Foundation is also working with Broadmoor to facilitate social distancing by providing additional seating and viewing areas.

“We understand that everyone likes to be in the room,” Cooper said when the featured speakers are on stage. “We will do everything we can to make sure that everyone feels as part of that room as possible. The additions we’ve made with the virtual platform as well as the additional viewing areas we’ve built around the Broadmoor campus will make it easier for people to get information as it happens.”

This will be the first space seminar to feature exhibits in the new 90,000-square-foot Broadmoor Hall. People viewing 265 or more exhibits enter and exit through designated doors to prevent overcrowding.

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“Broadmoor and all of our suppliers have been great partners in working in a very different atmosphere than we did before,” Cooper said. “We have a standard that we have set from our previous programmes, but that standard has to evolve in this new environment.”

In 2019, nearly 15,000 people attended the Space Symposium. The Space Foundation said it cannot estimate how many people will be on site this year because the numbers are constantly changing.

Representatives from NASA, the US Space Force, the US Air Force, Space Command, the US Navy, the National Reconnaissance Office and the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency will travel to Broadmoor.

A spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said no one from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would be at the site.

Many organizations are sending fewer people than in years past. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will be there, but Deputy Administrator Pam Milroy and Associate Administrator Bob Cabana do not plan to fly to Colorado Springs.

For people around the world who frequently attend space seminars, COVID-19 travel rules have created obstacles. European citizens, for example, need to obtain national interest waivers from the US State Department to enter the country. As a result, the 2021 event is expected to have much lower international participation than previous Space Symposiums.

The 36th Space Symposium was initially scheduled to begin on March 30, 2020. As the coronavirus began to spread in the United States, the Space Foundation rescheduled its date for October 31, 2020. With the pandemic continuing to disrupt events and travel, the event is back again and has been rescheduled. In August 2021 in mixed live and virtual format.

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A few weeks ago, August seemed to be an excellent time for the event because many of the people who normally attend the Space Forum have access to vaccines and travel restrictions have been relaxed.

Once the highly contagious viral delta variant began circulating in the United States and doctors discovered that vaccinated people could be infected and could spread the virus to others, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the use of masks for indoor public spaces in large areas or high transmission. Transmission rates are determined by two statisticians: the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people and the percentage of people in the area who tested positive for the virus during the previous seven days.

For El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs, transmission is high based on an average of 168 daily cases per 100,000 people and a positive rate of 7.52% as of August 22, according to El Paso County Public Health. 65 percent of El Paso County residents who are eligible for the vaccines received at least one dose, compared to 71 percent nationwide.

Although thousands are expected to gather in Broadmoor as in previous years, the 2021 event is likely to be one of a kind.

The companies aren’t making huge offerings like Lockheed Martin’s large-scale Orion capsule model in 2019, or Sierra Nevada Corp’s Dream Chaser. in 2018, or the New Shepard booster capsule and crew from Blue Origin in 2017.

“We designated that space to be open to allow people to gather outside to meet, connect, and partner,” Cooper said. “With the addition of new exhibition space this year, we are able to accommodate more exhibitors as well as some larger displays.”

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Cooper said the ever-changing pandemic “has allowed us to think really creatively about how to retain and adapt the ultimate essence that people expect in a different environment.” “That’s what we’ve been doing since we had to postpone it last year. Fortunately, we have a vaccine and know a lot about the things we can do to mitigate risk and exposure to COVID.