The 69th International Astronautical Congress took place in Bremen, starting from October 1st and ended on October 5th. This is our English language summary of the Congress.The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is the most important conference for the global space sector. For several days, over 6500 representatives and exhibitors presented the results of their work and plans for the future. Leading representatives from the space sector, the largest companies, space agencies and politicians were all present during this event.
This year’s edition of IAC was organized in Bremen, Germany. This is the first IAC in Europe since 2012 and at the same time the second organized in Bremen, the previous was hosted in 2003.
“Involving everyone” is the motto of the 69th IAC. It perfectly defines the current state of the global space sector. More than ever, the industry starts to be filled with hundreds of new companies established in countries all around the world.
A record number of representatives attended this year’s congress – over 6,500. About 40% of IAC participants were below the age of 35, it includes students and young professionals. About 20% of all participants were women. As always, the opening of IAC was a grand ceremony. This year’s conference started with an amazing musical performance by the world-renowned Bremen Orchestra.
A dozen different Polish entities are exhibited during this event. Among many interesting projects, the attendees had the opportunity to take a look at two Polish made rockets – Bigos 4 (Gdynia based SpaceForest) and Amber (Institute of Aviation), rovers from various robot competitions or the equipment used in the REXUS / BEXUS missions (including Scanway).
Opening Ceremony at IAC 2018 / Credits – International Astronautical Federation
On Monday as always the meeting of all the heads of the major space agencies took place. Among them, Mr. Dimitry Rogozin was missing, due to personal sanctions imposed by the European Union. Roskosmos was represented by the Director of International Cooperation. The Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) – Jan Woerner – reminded of the current focus around “Space 4.0”. The development of this concept is part of the ESA’s director focus for the Agency. The presentation of Jan Woerner also included a brief description of the latest European Earth Observation mission AEOLOUS.
Jim Bridgestine, the new NASA administrator focused during his speech on the long history of the agency’s achievements. NASA celebrates its 60th birthday this October. NASA current goal is to return to the Moon – but not in the same it was done in the 1960s. This time, NASA aims to go to the Moon through the LOP-G orbital station, using reusable landers and settle there for good. Leaving a permanent base on the Moon, would be the next step in the human colonization of our solar system.
The large exhibition hall featured many examples related to the upcoming exploration of Moon and Mars. During the IAC a lot of interest was present at German, French and Japanese stands as the DLR-CNES MASCOT lander reached the surface of asteroid Ryugu on October 3rd, launched from the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission.
Also the place for the IAC 2021 was announced. In the coming two years the Congress will take place first at Washington, then at Dubai. In 2021 the space world will gather together in Paris.
For the Kosmonauta.net / Blue Dot Solutions team this is the eighth IAC. Blue Dot Solutions is one of the official media partners of the IAF. For more details about this year’s IAC – stay tuned on the Polish edition of Kosmonauta.net.