"We've heard a lot of people say they didn’t think it was the right way to go," Stevens told SPACE.com. "But a lot of people understand what they're up against and we understand that they are trying to make a statement."
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While the convention, which runs from will include leaders from the private space industry, the U.S. military, and international space agencies, a notable segment of its usual attendance will be missing: NASA employees.
The U.S. space agency has expressly forbidden NASA employees from attending the conference on the agency's dime, citing funding concerns under the federal budget sequester. Prominent NASA officials, including the agency's administrator Charles Bolden, who were scheduled to speak at this year's conference have had to bow out.
"We know a lot of people from NASA are really disappointed; they were planning a pretty good presence,"said Janet Stevens, vice president of marketing and communications for the Space Foundation, which sponsors the National Space Symposium. The move sparked a vociferous protest from many in the space industry. [Now Boarding: The Top 10 Private Spaceships]
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