IAC 2019—Closer Than You Think
By Vincent Boles and Sandra Magnus|July/August 2019
AIAA is proud to be the host for the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2019), 21–25 October in Washington, DC. The event is nearly upon us and the local organizing committee (LOC), AIAA staff, and industry anchor sponsor Lockheed Martin have been working closely with the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) staff and Bureau members to ensure an out-of-this world event. Since being formally handed the baton at the close of IAC 2018 in Bremen, Germany, a lot has happened! Most notably, aligning with the Congress theme “The Power of the Past, the Promise of the Future,” the International Program Committee has established a plenary program that celebrates what the space community has accomplished in the past half century, while looking forward to the goals and challenges facing us over the next fifty years. Besides the traditional opening plenary featuring the heads of many global space agencies, the plenary program addresses:
• Evolving Apollo: The Next 50 Years in Human Spaceflight
• The Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space: Advancing the Space Economy and Sustaining the Space Industry Through Solutions to the Space Security Issue
• Inspiring by Leading: Building and Sustaining the Global Space Workforce for the Future Heads of Emerging Agencies
• Clipper Exploring Europa: Making a Mission to Understand Our Place in the Universe (#EuropaClipper)
The late afternoon and early evening highlight lectures provide attendees with opportunities to engage in more depth on selected topics, including space exploration and space utilization:
• MARSIS: The Successful Search for Liquid Water on Mars
• The Challenge of Exploring our Sun—The 60-Year Odyssey to Parker Solar Probe
• Monitoring Coastal Waters from Space—Highlighting the Chesapeake Bay Region—Dramatic Advances Enable Better Understanding and Protection of these Vital Ecosystems and Their Immense Coastal Populations and Infrastructure
Of course, at the core of the IAC is the substantial technical program with 20 concurrent sessions covering every aspect of international space activity, from human to robotic exploration to design, development, and operations. Reflecting the incredible energy and excitement present today in the global space industry, the number of abstracts submitted was overwhelming (4,327 abstract submissions from 86 countries). For those interested in engaging in ways other than the technical presentation format, there are over two dozen special sessions. Finally the Global Network Forum (GNF) program is also taking place. Clearly there will be something for everyone at the IAC!
The Congress encompasses more than just talks, panel discussions, and lectures, however. The LOC has also been busy working on STEM programming, creating a comprehensive public day experience, vetting potential tours for attendees, and other details related to ensuring an extraordinary attendee experience. Of particular priority to the LOC is engaging with our U.S. government leaders—both in the administration and on Capitol Hill—to encourage them to attend IAC 2019 and experience what the domestic and international space communities have to offer. The LOC, working with many of our sister space societies, has established a summer outreach program to build excitement and educate members of Congress and their staffs about current events in space, providing a preview of what they can expect to see at the IAC in October. We are looking forward to hosting many of them at a reception in the Exhibit Hall and on personal VIP tours of the hall where they can experience our industry first hand.
The Congress is collocated with several other events as related organizations take advantage of the presence of the global space community to host their meetings and activities. The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) hosts its workshop the four days prior to IAC 2019 and provides delegates an out-brief on their results during the IAC. The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) holds its meetings and Academy Day the weekend prior, culminating in a banquet to welcome new members. The International Institute of Space Law holds a series of moot court competitions with the final being judged by judges from the International Court of Justice at The Hague. On 20 October, the Members of Parliaments seminar brings together legislative personnel from around the globe to discuss space topics of international interest. And, of course, a theme threading through all of the events is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo program. It’s going to be a jam-packed week!
Please consider attending IAC 2019 to take advantage of the opportunity to interact with the global space community. Spend the week with us this October and be inspired by not only what the U.S. space sector is doing, but also the breadth of activities that are happening around the globe. See you there! ★