The International Astronautical Congress has begun. This year’s edition of the conference is being held in Beijing, the capital of China. Our representative is present at the IAC. This article is a summary of the first day of this event.
The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is probably the most important conference of the space sector. Every year the IAC is being held in different city on a different continent. Last year’s edition was held in Naples, Italy – this year the host city is Beijing, China. IAC is the perfect place to present the status of local, national, regional and international space sector as well as potential future paths of development.
Since this year’s IAC is organised in Beijing, a strong presence of Chinese space sector is clearly visible. The Shenzhou-10 return capsule is one of the centerpieces of the Chinese exhibition. At the same time there is a lack of the American space industry, mainly due to legal regulations and current cuts in the budget of the American space agency.The US delegation to this year’s congress is two times smaller than usual. On the other hand, the presence of the European space sector is visible, including countries, which are not yet members of the European Space Agency (ESA). There is also a very strong representation of the Republic of South Africa and Ukraine.
The first day of IAC 2013 is traditionally devoted to the head of agency panel discussion. The Director General of ESA, Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain in his speech mentioned the Poland, which will soon celebrate one year in the agency. Also, Mr Dordain talked about the growing problem of “space debris” and announced a close fly-by of Mars Express to the Martian moon Phobos by the end of the year.
Charles Bolden summed up the recent developments of the NASA Flexible Path programme mentioning the EFT-1 mission due to launch next year. Also the first year of Curiosity roving Mars was mentioned. The question of a more direct US-China cooperation in form of an Apollo-Soyuz mission was not answered due to political reasons.
During the first day of IAC 2013 the Kosmonauta.net representative also gave a presentation on the Polish activities as a full member of ESA. This presentation was found to be interesting to the audience and several questions about the Polish space industry and cooperation opportunities followed in later-on meetings.
The Kosmonauta.net representative also met Sandra Magnus, former astronaut, now in the AIAA board, who was very interested to hear of the social media action which heavily supported Poland’s entry to ESA.