Thousands Gather for the 61st International Astronautical Congress

By Marc Boucher
September 22, 2010
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Thousands Gather for the 61st International Astronautical Congress
Thousands Gather for the 61st International Astronautical Congress

The 61st International Astronautical Congress (IAC) will take place in the beautiful Czech Replublic capital of Prague between Monday, September 27th and conclude on Friday, October 1st with a Gala Dinner. To date over 2500 delegates have registered according to an IAC representative with an expected 3000 delates in total.

The IAC is organised by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the local organizing committee, the Czech Space Office. This is the second time the IAC meeting has been held in Prague having previously been held in 1977. At that only the former Soviet Union and the United States participated in manned space flights. Since then astronauts from 34 other countries have been in space including China which is now only the third country with the ability to launch humans into space.

This years congress theme is “Space for Human benefit and exploration” and with 13 technical sessions which are further subdivided into over 73 sub-sessions there’s something for every delagates interest. The theme of the congress reflects the importance of practical applications of space to everyday life as an increasing number of contries realize the benefits of space applications to their citizens lives. As well the theme reflects humanities desire for greater space exploration.

In conjunction with the IAC there are several other events ongoing. They include the 20th United Nations/IAF Workshop on “Global Navigation Satellite Systems Applications for Human Benefit and Development” and the Space Generation Congress, both which precede the start of IAC. The Space Generation Congress is the annual meeting of the Space Generation Advisory Council which brings together the top university students and young professionals who have been selected from among applicants from the Space Generation international network.

Also preceeding the start of IAC on Sunday, September 26th will be the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Academy Day will be held jointly with the Czech Academy of Sciences.

During the IAC other events include the International Air and Space Law Association which will hold its Moot Court Finals. The Moot Court competition was created to provide an opportunity for students to participate in an international moot court competition in space law.

Another event ongoing during the IAC is the Cluster Forum. The forum gathers decision makers and business developers from major corporations, large and small space agencies, smaller businesses, consulting firms and universities. Highlighting the Cluster Forum are the four forum sessions during IAC; the Space Industry Forum, the Nanosatellite Fair, the B2B and Knowledge Sharing Forum and the Central and Eastern Europe in Space Forum.

Climate change is also on the agenda as goverment representatives from nations around the world will be gather to particiapte in a dialogue about the use of space technology to diagnose climate change and to develop countermeasures.

The congress will open up with an opening ceremony which will showcase Czech culture through its history including medieval dance and music to contemporary artists.

The first session of the congress will be the first plenary event with Heads of Space Agencies. Present will be Charles Bolden, Administrator, NASA, Jean-Jacque Dordain, Director General, the European Space Agency, Anatoly Perminov, Head, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscomos), Keiji Tachikawa, President, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, Chen Qiufa, Administrator, China National Space Administration, K Radhakrisnan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization and Steve Maclean, President of the Canadian Space Agency.

This story is part of a special presentation by SpaceRef on The 61st International Astronautical Congress. For more news during the congress please visit our special page at:

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.