UAH College of Business hosts inaugural Business of Space Conference

Dr. Anthony D’Costa giving a conference
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Business hosted the inaugural Business of Space Conference on April 21-23, 2024, on the UAH campus. Dr. Anthony D’Costa, eminent scholar in global studies and professor of economics, College of Business, welcomes participants to the event in the UAH Student Services Center.
Michael Mercier | UAH

Leading innovators, academics and policy influencers from across the nation gathered at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) for the inaugural Business of Space Conference on April 21-23. The event was hosted by the College of Business at UAH, a part of The University of Alabama System.

Discussions centered on the current state of the new space economy and ways to influence the trajectory of future business initiatives and research into the business and economics of space. Central themes of the conference included economics, commerce and sustainability. These are areas of significant interest among stakeholders; however, there is a lack of broad understanding based on rigorous research. UAH organized the conference to fill that need.

“The new space economy provides countless opportunities for business and expanded commercial activity,” says Dr. Jason T. Greene, dean, UAH College of Business. “Our purpose with the Business of Space Conference is to bring together researchers, leaders and professionals in industry, academia and government to discuss the challenges and potential solutions facing this rapidly growing sector. Our goal is for UAH and Huntsville to continue to play a significant role in supporting the growth and advancement of space travel, space exploration and the space economy. With the success of our first event, we are well on our way to achieving that goal.”

Keynote speakers included Dr. Matthew Weinzierl, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Dr. Tina Highfill, senior research economist at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Weinzierl set the tone on day one with an in-depth exploration of the evolving roles of public and private actors since 2000, while Col. Todd J. Benson from the U.S. Space Force provided a vital update on the newly released Commercial Space Strategy aimed at cultivating commercial partnerships to increase the U.S. competitive advantage in space.

On day two, Highfill discussed measurement concepts and methodologies critical to understanding the dynamics of the space economy.

The final presenter, Dr. Hank Alewine, associate professor, UAH College of Business, examined the evolution of accounting research related to space commerce.

Then attendees toured the Blue Origin rocket engine production facility. This state-of-the-art center is located in Cummings Research Park, the second-largest research park in the U.S. Covering 300,000 square feet, the facility produces the BE-4 engine, used in the Blue Origin New Glenn rocket and the United Launch Alliance Vulcan launch vehicle, and the BE-3U engine, also used in the New Glenn rocket.

“I was impressed to see and hear how Blue Origin thinks about which aspects of the supply chain to retain in-house and leverage for innovation versus which aspects to outsource to specialized partners,” says Dr. Jeffrey Wagner, professor of economics at The Rochester Institute of Technology. “Economists refer to this as managing the ‘boundaries’ of the firm. I was also struck by the fact that all employees I encountered on the visit seemed to know and really like each other; this transparent collegiality is no doubt an important ingredient in Blue Origin’s current and future success.”

Along with Blue Origin, conference sponsors included Troy 7, a Yulista Holding subsidiary, and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

The next Business of Space Conference will be held on Feb. 23-25, 2025. Visit to sign up for updates.



Kristina Hendrix