International space community convenes for 71st IAC


From Monday 12 to Wednesday 14 October, the 71st International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is bringing together the international space community for a cyberspace event in light of the current health situation. The yearly congress is a must-attend event for space professionals everywhere, with numerous scientists, academics and engineers taking part from institutions, agencies and industrial groups.

Founded in 1951, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) is the world’s leading space advocacy body. Today, it has 397 members in 69 countries, including all leading space agencies, companies, research institutions, universities, societies, associations, institutes and museums worldwide. As organizer of IAC, the world’s premier global space event, IAF actively encourages the development of astronautics for peaceful purposes and supports the dissemination of scientific and technical information related to space.

The plenary session of international heads of space agencies is a highlight of the opening day of the congress. IAF and DLR President Pascale Ehrenfreund and IAF Honorary Ambassador Jean-Yves Le Gall moderated this top-level debate with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Lisa Campbell, President of the Canadian Space Agency, Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, Sivan K, Chairman of ISRO, ESA Director General Jan Wörner, JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa and CNSA Administrator Kejian Zhang.

Although currently unable to meet physically, the space community has demonstrated its ability to come together in pursuit of common goals, as the strong participation in this year’s cyberspace event shows. Cooperation on large-scale space exploration programmes featured prominently in this traditional plenary, where all the speakers underlined that missions are most successful when backed by an international team effort.

In 2018, Paris was selected to host the 73rd IAC, where no fewer than 10,000 attendees from all five continents are expected. Due to the coronavirus crisis, the French capital will now be holding IAC in 2022 and the preceding edition in 2021 will take place in Dubai.


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