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ASU Space Collective connects businesses and researchers to lead the space economy

Colorful night sky showing Milky Way with silhouette of Arizona mountains and saguaros in foreground
January 22, 2024

Businesses in the aerospace industry have a new way to connect, advance shared goals and leverage Arizona’s economy.

Arizona State University's Space Collective engages a growing coalition of organizations that seek out talent, space assets and experts across ASU and Arizona.

“Through the ASU Space Collective, we can gain deeper insights into our commercial space members’ business goals and create custom opportunities for them across ASU’s many space endeavors and external networks,” says Jessica Rousset, director of the ASU Interplanetary Initiative. “We understand how important cross-sector collaboration is to make real-world impact, and so we designed the collective to build multifaceted industry relationships with faculty, students and university leaders.”

Lunasonde, a Tucson-based imaging company that provides subsurface data from orbit, was the first company to become a member of the collective.

“Lunasonde believes the ASU Space Collective will be an invaluable forum for the emergent Arizona space ecosystem,”  said Lunasonde CEO Jeremiah Pate. “Having a direct interface to other companies in the new space sector will allow Lunasonde to advance our mission of using space to better the planet and make space resources a reality.”

ASU is a top university for space science, ranking No. 8 in the U.S. for higher education research expenditures financed by NASA. Among its dozens of active space missions are the Psyche asteroid mission, the main camera of the Mars Perseverance rover and the moon-mapping Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera.

The space industry is part of the heritage of Arizona itself. Its public universities and its history as the home of aerospace and defense industries have made the state a resource hub for off-planet endeavors.

Last year, ASU gathered leaders in industry, academia and policy for the inaugural Arizona Space Summit. The summit explored the state’s space ecosystem and how it benefits a multitude of organizations, while discussing what the industry needs to grow and thrive.

READ MORE: ASU helps chart a course for Arizona’s space industry

Panel of 5 experts on stage at the 2023 Arizona Space Summit. The screen behind says "The future of space in Arizona."
ASU gathered leaders in industry, academia and policy for the inaugural Arizona Space Summit in 2023. Photo courtesy of ASU Space Collective

One major recommendation that came from the summit’s report was to continue to grow the Arizona-based space community. An annual summit — which will be held in Tempe again this year — addresses this idea, in part. The ASU Space Collective complements this effort by bringing together a core group that can advance collaborations throughout the year.

Members of the ASU Space Collective receive exclusive benefits that are tailored to support their unique business goals, including access to networking events, student workforce development opportunities, upskilling courses, scientific experts and joint grant funding.

“AstroForge is proud to join the ASU Space Collective to strengthen our relationship with the top university for the study of asteroids. ASU has both the leading technical individuals as well as world-class facilities that help companies like AstroForge move faster in the right direction,” says Matt Gialich, co-founder and CEO of AstroForge, an asteroid-mining company based in Huntington Beach, California.

Matt Gialich stands by a screen and speaks to a room full of students.
Matt Gialich, co-founder and CEO of AstroForge, leads a SpaceBites Ask-Me-Anything session with ASU students in the Interplanetary Laboratory. Photo courtesy of ASU Interplanetary Initiative

“Being a part of the ASU Space Collective is an opportunity that comes at the right time and place. Arizona is on the rise as a major space hub, and being a part of the collective has provided Honeybee with valuable networking opportunities in the region. We feel fortunate to be a part of such a lively community that shares our passion for advancing the space economy,” says Kris Zacny, vice president of exploration systems at Honeybee Robotics, a robotics engineering company based in Longmont, Colorado.

Other member organizations include Virgin Galactic, Crow Industries, Howe Industries and Katalyst Space Technologies.

Strengthening ties between ambitious companies in the space sector and connecting them to the resources at ASU and across Arizona not only helps businesses meet their own goals faster, it also boosts the new space economy, cements Arizona’s role as a premier space hub and opens the door for more advances to come.

“The ASU Space Collective builds upon the relationships formed with the space industry and corresponding faculty, staff and alumni. This ecosystem development creates the perfect environment for continued growth in space science and technology in Arizona at ASU,” says Scott Smas, associate director of ASU NewSpace.

Interested in advancing your commercial space company? Become a member of the ASU Space Collective by emailing

Save the date: 2024 ASU Space Career Fair

Open to undergraduate and graduate students.

When: Wednesday, March 27.
Where: ASU Memorial Union, Turquoise 220.

Student registration

Industry registration

Save the date: 2024 Arizona Space Summit Workforce Development event

Open to students, faculty, staff and public.

When: Wednesday, March 27.
Where: ASU Student Pavilion.


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