Session sizes will vary, but SpaceUps tend towards more intimate discussions.

Ways to participate

A session can take a few different formats:

  • presentation with Q&A
  • demo
  • panel of experts
  • roundtable

Some of the most interesting sessions are proposed as open-ended questions:

  • "Should NASA continue developing hardware?"
  • "What’s the cheapest way to do science in space?"
  • "Should New Zealand have any astronauts?"

Project demonstrations make great sessions, too, especially when they’re hands-on.

T-5 Talks

If people are itching to give a presentation with slides, we have just the format: it’s called Ignite. Each speaker gets 5 minutes to talk, with 20 slides that rotate automatically every 15 seconds. At SpaceUp, we call our Ignite-format talks ‘T minus 5’. These are usually the only talks that are scheduled beforehand, because they take a bit more preparation and planning than most unconference sessions. They’re definitely worth the effort.

Check out this great example from SpaceUp San Diego - "Space Is Boring":

Here's some other cool resources which will help get you started and get you inspired:

60 seconds to land

Not everyone can make it to the SpaceUp in person, so SpaceUp provides a great idea for people to contribute their great idea, passion or simply who you are: Simply send a one-minute video of yourself. These videos may be played during the keynote, as a T-5 segment, or rotate on a video wall in the hallway.

Your 60 second clip can be about anything. You could introduce yourself and say 'Hi' to the peeps at the conference, share a brief bit of what you do, and even solicit support. If no-one from your team can make it to the conference, you could focus on sharing information about a project you're working on.


We’ll facilitate some presentations by videoconference; allowing us to bring in international and domestic speakers who may have other commitments.

Enabling virtual attendees, through pre-recorded video snippets, live hangouts, etc.

Live Stream & Social Media

Many SpaceUps offer live streaming of some rooms, and actively engage social media during sessions. Offsite people can follow along and participate, make comments and ask questions, simply by using the right Twitter hash tag, joining a Google Hangout, etc.

The Law Of Two Feet

There are lots of sessions going on at once, so there’s no excuse to be bored. More specifically: if you find yourself neither contributing nor learning, it’s your responsibility to get up and find (or create) a place where you can contribute or learn. If no one is asking the question you want answered, write it up as a roundtable discussion. If no one seems to share your interest in parametric models of rocket nozzle design, start a session and see who attends. If all else fails, go get a snack and listen in on the conversations there.

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