International Astronautical Federation elects Dordain new Vice-President
On 1 October the General Assembly of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) elected ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain Vice-President on a two-year mandate.
The 200 IAF member organisations represented at the General Assembly gathered in Prague to attend the 61st International Astronautical Congress (IAC), the yearly meeting of space professionals, and elected Dordain to represent Europe alongside other VPs from a number of spacefaring countries such as the US, Russia, Japan, India and China.
Developing stronger relationships with the heads of space agencies around the world will be the main priority for Dordain, who was recently appointed for a third mandate at the helm of the European Space Agency that will extend his term until June 2015.
By organising the annual International Astronautical Conference and other meetings on specific subjects, the IAF actively encourages the development of astronautics for peaceful purposes and supports the dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge related to space.
In the last four years, ESA’s Head of Cabinet Karlheinz Kreuzberg, who ended his term as a VP of the IAF this year, greatly contributed to stimulating the international and interdisciplinary nature of the IAF, in particular by adding a new dimension to its work through the “International parliamentary days”, organised to coincide with IAC gatherings. These meetings foster the global development of networks of members of parliament at regional, national and international level.
The first Plenary session that opens the works of the Congress now has a very well defined format in which heads of space agencies meet to highlight the achievements and future programmes of their respective agencies and interact with the audience, moderated by a professional journalist.
With a record-breaking number of attendees this year at over 3,000, the 61st International Astronautical Congress in Prague opened on 27 September and ran until 1 October. Joining the world’s other major space players, ESA's participation was in the form of experts providing a rich and varied programme while, at the same time, the Agency's broad range of activities was portrayed in a lively exhibition which attracted both specialists and the general public.
The IAC is the world's premier international space gathering, attended by high-level delegates and decision-makers from space agencies, industry and academia. The next IAC is scheduled to take place on 3-7 October 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa. Naples (Italy) will host the 2012 edition while Beijing will be home to the IAC in 2013.