GLEC 2022 leaving a lasting legacy in Ecuador and Latin America

Press Release From: International Astronautical Federation
Posted: Thursday, May 19, 2022

19 May 2022, Quito, Ecuador – The final day of the Global Conference on Space for Emerging Countries – GLEC 2022 continued to discuss and highlight important aspects connected to the establishment and consolidation of the space sector in emerging countries. The first Session of the day focused on Space Industry Development and Support since the space industry and the private sector institutions are playing an increasing role in the space ecosystem. For instance, “when the ISS retires, new commercial space stations will be created by private companies, because the commercialization of space is really the key factor that is going to drive the development of space” claimed John ROTH, Vice President, Business Development, Sierra Space.

The debate then focused on Space in Schools & the Role of Academia as “in the very near future, the space sector will need tens of thousands of new young professionals in order to achieve everything we are planning, however there is a significant shortage in the STEM workforce that schools and academia need to address” warned IAF President, Pascale EHRENFREUND. 

The conversation continued on Space Technology for Emerging Countries, organized by the IAF Committee on Liaison with International Organizations and Developing Nations – CLIODN where Pieter VAN BEEKHUIZEN, Treasurer, Stichting Space Professionals Foundation (SSPF), and Vice Chair of IAF CLIODN, explained that “space technology can make an immense contribution to solving the problems of developing nations, in particular through the use of satellites in the fields of communications, remote sensing, and disaster management”. Followed by the last plenary on the benefits of a space ecosystem approach, as declared by Alejandro J. ROMAN MOLINAS, General Director of Aerospace Development, Paraguayan Space Agency, “a global space environment is a collection of integrated systems and stakeholders that must be managed and balanced to ensure sustainability. The health and durability of this ecosystem depends on education, information, and collaboration”.

The final IAF GNF session targeted the Latin American Culture in Space. The moderator Bernard FOING, Executive Director, International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG), and Chair IAF ITACCUS Committee described culture as “a unique human invention to increase our ability to facilitate daily living because it provides a useful tool for understanding human behavior and its relationship to a particular environment”. In Guatemala for instance space culture dates back to the times of the Mayans, whose lives evolved around astronomy.

To conclude the conference, IAF Executive Director, Christian FEICHTINGER, during the closing ceremony announced that the first ever IAF Global Conference in Ecuador attracted 260 participants, half of which are young professionals and students below 35 years of age, coming from 43 countries. Then the Director General of the Norwegian Space Agency (NOSA), Christian HAUGLIE HANSSEN, invited everyone to the very first IAF Global Space Conference on Climate Change – GLOC 2023 taking place in Oslo, Norway from 23-25 May 2023.

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