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May 22, 2023

Space Symposium 2023: Mission Accepted

From the Space Race to the James Webb Space Telescope, the story of human adventure in space is a story of digital engineering. To gaze deep into the universe or explore it firsthand, mine an asteroid or deflect it, and protect assets in space or the world beneath them — simulation is essential.

Attendees of the recent Space Symposium had the opportunity to learn about digital engineering's role in civil, commercial, and defense programs ... while enjoying ice cream.

Space Symposium, hosted by Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has brought together space leaders to discuss, address, and plan for the future of space since 1984. This event is widely attended by government, industry, military, intelligence, research, and investment community leaders from around the world. The Space Symposium regularly welcomes more than 10,000 people, including speakers, attendees, exhibitors, media, volunteers, educators, and students.

Ansys is deeply involved in the Space Symposium experience, from co-sponsoring the event to serving ice cream — that's 22 hours of scooping, all totalled — at our booth.

Ansys booth

The Ansys booth at Space Symposium 2023

The Space Symposium Experience

With more than 200 booths split between two halls, there is much to see on the Space Symposium floor. From big names like Boeing and Northrop Grumman to startups like COMSPOC, the exhibits cover a broad range of the latest in space innovation.

When you’re not walking the floor, you can participate in workshops, forums, and roundtables presented by notable space leaders. Over the years, speakers have included the vice president of the United States, secretaries of the Air Force; directors of the National Reconnaissance Office; commanders of United States Strategic Command; NASA, NOAA, and FAA administrators; heads of global space agencies; and more.   

With so many opportunites and things to look at, it was easy to get overwhelmed. But there was one common thread throughout the show. 

Leidos Rover

A Leidos rover

Satellite exhibit at a trade show

A satellite at the Raytheon booth

Mission Centric

Whether you're sending the next greatest telescope into deep space or protecting your nation from orbit, meeting the requirements of your mission is of utmost importance.

Most booths focused on missions they've successfully helped complete, such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Each booth involved with the successful creation and launch of the JWST focused on whichever aspect they helped design or create. Lockheed Martin displayed some of the amazing photos the JWST has captured since its launch. Ball had a miniature version of the 18 hexagonal segments of the JWST's primary mirror that served as a display and a game. Each mirror could be flipped to reveal a fun fact about the development of the JWST. Some booths displayed whole systems, like rovers or satellites. Others displayed the systems-of-systems they helped design that went into a larger system, such as chips and other electromagnetic parts. 

Some booths focused on solutions for missions that have yet to come. 

  • The Dragonfly: Launching in 2027 to explore the molecular structure on the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.
  • Europa Clipper: Launching in 2024 to investigate Juipter's moon, Europa. 
  • IMAP: Laucnhing in 2025 to map the boundry between the solar system and interstellar space. 
  • EZIE: Launching in 2024 to image electric currents in near-Earth space. 


Dragonfly concept

A Dragonfly concept

Antenna system

A Ka-Band Cassegrain Three-Axis Antenna System from CPI

Ansys at Space Symposium

Ansys Systems Tool Kit (STK), our newly acquired Ansys Thermal Desktop, and Ansys ModelCenter stole the show at the Ansys booth with demonstrations about circular-restricted three-body problem (CR3BP) orbit families, LunaNet constellation optimization, cislunar cycler free return trajectories, satellite-to-satellite sensor emulation, and more.

To push the boundaries of what we know, you need to push the boundaries of what your mission can do. Ansys simulation solutions have empowered some of the wildest ambitions in space science, and they can be the key to your next great success story. Ansys simulation solutions empower design, engineering, and testing from microchips to systems of systems. When it comes to planning your systems’ missions, you can rely on our simulation solutions to help ensure success.



Spacesuit exhibit at a trade show

A space suit displayed by KBR

JWST mirrors

A miniature version of the James Webb Space Telescope mirrors from Ball

Work Hard, Play Hard

But it wasn’t all work. We know how to have fun, too.

While some booths give out marketing collateral or swag, we continued our long tradition of giving out free ice cream at Space Symposium. With flavors like Cosmic Caramel Cone, Symposium Brew, Perigee Pralines and Cream, and Dulce De-bris Leche, we kept our guests coming back for more. We took the opportunity to network and answer any questions people had about Ansys while they enjoyed their dessert.

Amidst the sweet treats and chatter, we heard whispers about the best reception at Space Symposium: Casino Night. Thankfully, we were there to put the whispers to rest and confirm that Casino Night would take place. Let’s be clear: No actual gambling took place at Ansys Casino Night. Guests wagered with pretend money, hoping to win prize tickets — and have a great time with fellow symposium attendees. The casino floor was packed with classic games, such as blackjack, craps, roulette, and more. One lucky guest took home our grand prize: a Cannondale Treadwell Neo 2 EQ Electric Bike.

Missed Space Symposium this year? Come see us next year April 8-11, 2024, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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