The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is an annual event that allows participants from different parts of the world to network new contacts and potential partnerships, access latest space information and developments in academia and industry, explore ideas, debate roadmaps, and discuss future opportunities in astronomy and its related fields.
It also serves as a platform for participants to share their ideas on how best to tackle world challenges through the use of astronomy and space applications, while inspiring the next generation to architect the further development and expansion of the ecosystem.
The focus of this year’s congress is capsulated in the theme, “Inspire, Innovate and Discover for the Benefit of Humankind”, with the objective centred on making a contribution to humanity and science by establishing and improving cooperation between all countries in the space sector.
From 12 – 16 October 2020, the IAC will hold in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, the first time in the Arab world. Dubai was selected as the host city for this year’s congress during the 68th International Astronautical Congress IAF General Assembly, held in Adelaide, Australia in September 2017. The event to be hosted by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center(MBRSC), will also highlight how space science and technology can contribute to a nation’s progress, with emphasis on the United Arab Emirate.
On the line up for the global astronautical event are pre-conference activities, plenary sessions, workshops, business meeting, exhibitions, GNFs, technical sessions and presentations, exploring different agendas and topics in relations to the general theme and other engagements.
The five days event expects over 4,000 representatives from the different segments of the space industry, including representatives of national, regional and international space and astronomical organisations; stakeholders from the public-private sectors, the academia, space and astronomical outreaches and non-profits.
Since its inaugural event in Paris France in 1950, the IAC has been held in different parts of the world. With its 70th and last congress in Washington, DC last year. Paris won the bid to host the congress in 2021 while hosting rights go to Baku, Azerbaijan in 2022. In 2011, the congress met for the first time on the African soil for its 62nd event in Cape Town, South Africa, and is yet to hold in the continent since then.
However, with the call for hosting the congress in 2023 still open, can an African country win the bid? That question will be answered on the IAF General Assembly on 16th October 2020.
Ogechi Onuoha is a Cambridge Certified ESOL editor with a background in reporting, international relations, creative writing and adept in industry research and analysis. She is passionate about curating and evaluating the benefits/relevance of space to grassroots development and women’s participation in the space sector.