12-07-23: The Race to Own Outer Space

December 07, 2023 at 7:30 am

At Tower Club One Financial Plaza, 28th floor 100 S.E. Third Ave. Fort Lauderdale

The Race to Own Outer Space

Gene Roddenberry immortalized the phrase, “Space, the final frontier”. The race for the cosmos has dramatically changed from its beginnings back in the 1950s. Since the Space Shuttle program was moth-balled, the industry has been privatized, there are many new participants – corporations and nations vying for “space”. Business Schools, economic development agencies, and incubators all over the country are focused on it. Advances in technology have happened, making the moon just a staging point to get to Mars, and beyond. The treaties that exist about ‘ownership of space’ are written and agreed among nations, not private corporations. The cost of participation is “astronomical.”

So much ambition, which drives so many questions. What now? What’s the how? Aren’t there more important issues and places that need this attention and money?

Connie Erlanger

Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer, GoKnown

Matt Chesnut

Vice President Business And Economic Development, Space Florida

Deborah Lee James

23rd Secretary Of The United States Air Force, Author, Speaker, Strategic Advisor

Jaap Donath, Ph.D.

Assistant Executive Director, Programs, Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center Of Innovation 

Thank you to our Sponsor!


Connie Erlanger is one of four co-founders of the technology company GoKnown, LLC, founded in 2018.

GoKnown’s mission is data privacy and security for everyone, on Earth and in Space. The company has developed the breakthrough KNOWN distributed ledger for real-time, time-sequenced decentralized general-purpose computing. GoKnown’s first product, MyKNOWN, is the first NoCode LowCode, cybersecure, distributed ledger designed for mass adoption and rapid prototyping and deployment of decentralized applications for any use case.

Prior to GoKnown Connie was CEO/COO of two other successful startups co-founded with her husband Michael Erlanger and a group of private investors: 1994 to 2000, a NASD registered broker dealer that placed a record $1.8 billion in residential mortgage whole loans between institutional investors; and, 2000 to 2018, Marketcore.com, Inc. which developed patented system designs that are foundational to the technology developed at GoKnown.


Connie Erlanger

Matt Chesnut

Matt Chesnut joined Space Florida in December of 2018 as a member of the business development team. Utilizing his experience in economic development in Florida, Matt works closely with economic development organizations, airport organizations, and local governments in utilizing Space Florida’s tool kit in the attraction of aerospace companies. Matt’s role also involves working with aerospace related businesses who are considering locating or expanding in Florida. Before joining Space Florida, Matt worked with Team Volusia Economic Development Corporation in Daytona Beach as the Vice-President of Business Intelligence and Operations and as the Director of Economic Development for the City of Titusville, FL. Prior to working in the economic development field, he served as City Manager for Maryville, MO. Matt holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and a Bachelor of Science in government from Northwest Missouri State University. In 2012, Matt earned his Certified Economic Developer status through the International Economic Development Council.

Inspiring Others to Soar. From December 2013 through January 2017, Deborah served as the 23rd Secretary of the United States Air Force with responsibility for 660,000 military and civilian personnel and a budget of nearly $140 billion. She was the second woman to ever lead a military service in the United States. Prior to this role, she served as President of SAIC’s Technical and Engineering sector, a $2 billion, 8,700-person enterprise. Earlier in her career, Deborah held other P&L positions, and worked in the legislative branch of government and the Department of Defense.

Deborah has deep expertise in strategic planning, risk management, public policy, cyber security, space, logistics and innovation. Deborah is an accomplished speaker on business and government topics including issues in national security and world affairs, politics in Washington, business transformation leadership, mergers and acquisitions, cost reduction strategies, and diversity and inclusion. Deborah is the author of the new book Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success. And she periodically appears on MSNBC, CBS, and other national news programs.

Deborah Lee James

Jaap Donath, Ph.D. (Moderator)

Jaap Donath is Assistant Executive Director, Programs at the Alan B. Levan NSU Broward Center of Innovation where he oversees the four pillar programs, Ideate, Incubate, Accelerate and Post-Accelerate as well as other programs. Jaap has close to 30 years of economic development experience, including over 25 years with the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the economic development partnership for Miami-Dade County, as Senior Vice President, Research & Strategic Planning. In this role he has been involved in the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in South Florida since the late 1990s, including BioFlorida Southeast Chapter leadership, Life Science South Florida Executive Committee and past member of the eMerge Americas Steering Committee. He also participated in tech tradeshows such as CeBIT (was the world’s largest IT tradeshow) in Germany and MEDICA (world’s largest medical device tradeshow) and BIO International Convention.

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