Space World Unites at the IAC 2020 – The Cyberspace Edition

The 71st International Astronautical Congress – The CyberSpace Edition held virtually for the first time marked a historic moment for the entire space community. This CyberSpace IAC 2020 broke the previous record in terms of participation with more than 13.600 delegates connecting from 135 countries!

 

2020 has been undoubtedly a challenging year for the whole world, but the space community showed its resilience by presenting more than 1.300 video lectures at the Technical Programme Gallery and a virtual exhibition with more than 30 booths accessible 24 hours a day from everywhere around the globe. The IAC also offered several live sessions, including Plenaries, Highlight Lectures, Special Sessions and IAF Global Networking Forum, covering exciting topics like space exploration, space commercialization, artificial intelligence in space, debris removal and climate change, among many others. The COVID-19 pandemic and especially its influence on major space projects and on the space sector was discussed. It is reassuring to know that the leaders of the space community, including the Heads of Space Agencies, have ambitious plan to gather around common goals and to foster international cooperation. Also, the International Space Station tuned in during the Opening Ceremony to reiterate once again that humanity is united, which was further confirmed by the progress of NASA’s Artemis programme and the signature of the Artemis accords.

The conference was deliberately converging around the theme “IAF Connecting @ll Space
People’ to be in line with the IAF 3G movement: Generation, Gender, Geography. The digital
character of the IAC 2020 together with the important role played by social media allowed
this CyberSpace Edition of the IAC to reach many students and young professionals
worldwide.

The IAF General Assembly, at its plenary session, welcomed 19 new members, bringing the
total membership count to 407 from 71 countries. It elected 4 new Vice Presidents: Andreas LINDENTHAL (Germany), Anthony TSOUGRANIS (USA), Nobu OKADA (Japan), Xiaojun WANG (China). Two new IAF technical committees have also been created: The IAF
Committee on Space Habitats and the IAF Space Traffic Management Committee.