National Space Agency Leaders Outline Programs, Progress and Future Plans at Head of Agencies Panel

©IAF

China National Space Administration Vice Administrator Wu Yunhua.

The 67th International Astronautical Congress held last week in Guadalajara, Mexico was an opportunity for world space agency leaders to publicly share in a moderated panel the progress of their national programs and answer questions from the public.

This years panelists included:

- Sylvain Laporte of the Canadian Space Agency
- Charles Bolden of NASA
- Igor Komarov of ROSCOSMOS
- S. Somanath of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
- Naoki Okumura of JAXA
- Johann-Dietrich Woerner of the European Space Agency
- Wu Yanhua the China National Space Agency

The plenary was moderated by John Horack, Professor and Neil Armstrong Chair, The Ohio State University, College of Engineering, and Minoo Rathnasabapathy, Executive Director of the Space Generation Advisory Council.

Watch the the complete webcast of the Head of Agencies plenary

Highlights of the Plenary

1) Sylvain Laporte, Canadian Space Agency
- Provided instrumentation for the OSIRIS-REx mission and James Webb Space Telescope.
- Canada has extended its stay aboard the International Space Station until 2024.
- A leader in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) will be launching an initial three satellite RADARSAT Constellation as a follow on to the successful RADARSAT 1 and 2 satellites. Launch is tentatively scheduled for 2018.
- Canada is currently recruiting two new astronauts with training at NASA to being in August of 2017.
- Canada is developing a new Innovation Agenda which the Canadian Space Agency is playing an important role.
- In developing technology roadmaps, identify what needs to be invested in, then invest, but, more it's important to consult industry, academia, colleagues globally on what needs to be done.
- Is now hiring engineers right out of college, a practice that had been previously discontinued.
- Developing drilling technology for in SITU resource utilization.

2) Charles Bolden, NASA
- Spoke of changing times, more commercial entities providing input at this Congress and working in public-partnerships with NASA.
- Spoke at length about NASA's Journey to Mars.
- Mentioned that NASA is working with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch their Mars mission by 2020.
- International cooperation a priority, cites 750+ agreements already in place with 101 countries globally.
- NASA is working technology for Asteroid Redirect Mission.
- Other key technology needing work; Solar election propulsion.

3) S. Somanath, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
- Planning for GSLV Mark III rocket launch in early 2017.
- Planning on increasing GSLV and PSLV rocket launch rates.
- Chandrayan mission cooperation with US and ESA instruments. Looking for greater cooperation with payloads available for moon and Mars missions.

4) Wu Yanhua, China National Space Agency
- 14 launches this year to date, planned to do 26.
- New generation Long March 5 to be launched by beginning of November.
- Human space flight of Shenzhou 11 mission will start in October.
- Chinese resupply Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to be launched and dock with the newly launched Tiangong-2 space station.
- Lunar mission launched by end of next year for sample return, Chang'e 5. Then in 2018
they may go to the far side of the moon with Chang'e-6 .
- Planning on launching a relay satellite to L2 to the moon to communicate with earth.
- Mars budget approved for Mars rover, lander and orbiter.
- Will launch 100 satellites in the next 10 years, with 50 of those being remote sensing satellites.
- 3rd version of white paper, space policy to be released later this year with collaboration highlighted.
- Reiterates China's willingness for collaboration on missions. (recurring theme).
- Studying possible uses moon and Mars resources, space-based solar power generation (recharging) station in space for exploration.

5) Igor Komarov, ROSCOSMOS
- State corporation transfer finalized last year with changes complete.
- Interested in the "moon village" concept by Jan Woerner (ESA).
- New spaceport operational.
- Spoke of ongoing ExoMars mission, lander touches done on October 17.
- Need more done on in situ resource utilization, especially for getting water.

6) Naoki Okumura, JAXA
- Discussed ongoing development of Japan's next-generation rocket, the H3.
- International cooperation indispensable, strengthens cooperation and coordination on Earth.
- Doing a lot of activities to ignite curiosity in space. Providing programs for teachers.

7) Jan Woerner, ESA
- Spoke of successful Rosetta mission and that they had found Phyllae (lander).
- Rosetta to end mission this week with a "soft crash" of the orbiter on the comet surface.
- Speaks of Space 4.0i - Innovate, Inspire, Inform, Interact. Space 1.0 was Astronomy, 2.0 Apollo, 3.0 the International Space Station, 4.0 International cooperation, commercial space.
- ESA wants to develop additive technology (3d-printing) to be used in space or at destination.

67th International Astronautical Congress Head os Agencies plenary.
67th International Astronautical Congress Head os Agencies plenary. Credit: International Astronautical Federation (IAF)

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