ESA at IAC 2021

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The 72nd International Astronautical Congress opens its doors on Monday 25 October at the Dubai  World Trade Centre in the United Arab Emirates, for a week of intense interactions for the world space community. After one year online due to COVID-19 restrictions, the congress returns to an in-person event with the theme ‘Inspire, innovate and discover for the benefit of humankind’.

ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher will be among the first speakers when he joins the Heads of Agency plenary session followed by a press conference on the opening day. Around one thousand students and young professionals will be in attendance, while experienced scientists, engineers and the media will also hear the latest plans for ESA’s missions and ambitions.

The congress is unique in covering all aspects of space exploration – from highly technical propulsion and navigation disciplines, to the business of space, space law and policy, and space outreach and knowledge management. ESA has more than a dozen speakers across the technical sessions and will also host two discussions at the Global Networking Forum – shaping future debates about space sustainability and the roles of start-ups in the space domain.

Further information on the full IAC programme available on the congress and IAF websites

ESA DG at IAC Dubai 2021

ESA will also take its place in a small area of the exhibition at the IAC Congress, close to European industry and space agencies from ESA Member States.  Following on from last year’s virtual event, it is even more important this year for ESA to join our international colleagues to renew and strengthen connections in the space community. 

“The IAC European village is an excellent example of how the space ‘Team Europe’ can showcase excellence in the context of an international congress,” says ESA head of communications Philippe Willekens. “The idea was proposed at the IAC 2019 held in Washington DC and met with great enthusiasm amongst European industrial and institutional exhibitors, especially from ESA Member States who don’t have a national agency or the resources to be visible in such large venues. IAC2021 in Dubai will be a first and a test case for future Congresses”.

ESA will share this area with the International Space Education Board (ISEB) offering students the opportunity to network with entrepreneurs and other actors of the international space community, and will also provide a platform for the winning companies of two competitions: The 2020 ESA start-up competition and the ESA 2021 Global Space Markets Challenge.

DG Josef Aschbacher will post updates from his activities at IAC on his Twitter account while the hashtag #IAC2021 will be in use across the whole week of events.

Those attending in Dubai may wish to join for some key events in the ESA area at the exhibition:

Monday 25 October
10:30-11:30      IAC Exhibition official inauguration ceremony
12:00-12:30      Pitching and Award Session, 2020 ESA start-up competition winners, ESA area, IAC Exhibition, Hall 8-11
Tuesday 26 October
11:45-12:45      Meetings with competition winners
15:00-16:00      Pitching and Award Session ESA 2021 Global Space Markets Challenge
Wed 27 October           
11:00-11:50      ESA Director General meets the press
15:00-16:00       James Webb Space Telescope round table discussion

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