ESA Sponsors Students at IAC 2008

ESA sponsored students
14 October 2008

One of the major events of the space calendar, the 59th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), was held in Glasgow, Scotland, between 28 September and 3 October. Joining more than 2,000 space professionals from around the world who attended the conference were 26 students sponsored by the ESA Education Office.

The students, who came from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Sweden, Hungary, Austria, Canada, United Kingdom and Spain, were sponsored by ESA to attend the IAC’s Student Participation Programme. This special programme was set up in collaboration with the other members of the International Space Education Board: NASA, JAXA, CSA and CNES.

Exploring the solar system by David Southwood
Exploring the solar system: Speech by David Southwood, IAC 2008

Among the highlights were featured talks from leading space agency officials and scientists, including Jean-Jacques Dordain, the ESA Director General, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, ESA’s Director for Science and Robotic Exploration, Professor David Southwood, William Gerstenmaier from NASA’s Space Operation Mission Directorate, and many others.

All of the students presented a paper at the IAC after a selection process that took place in close collaboration with the International Astronautical Federation. Their papers encompassed a wide range of subjects in various fields, including engineering, science and even law.

The event provided an excellent opportunity for the students to gain experience in presenting their own research to the space community and in interacting with those already in their future field of work. They not only participated in the technical sessions at the Congress, but were also able to put their questions to officials representing many of the world’s space agencies.

“We have been very impressed by the level of our ESA-sponsored students, their papers and presentations, and also very pleased to see the excellent level of interaction they had with NASA, JAXA, CNES and CSA students,” said Dr. Javier Ventura-Traveset, Head of the European Space Astronomy Centre’s Communication & Education Office. “International cooperation is a natural way of working in space and it is very important we stress this aspect within ESA education programmes.”

Student feedback was also very positive and enthusiastic. “The IAC was an amazing experience,” said Timiebi Aganaba, a British student from the International Space University. “It was inspiring to meet the authors that I had referenced and also to meet other students with similar motivations and an equal thirst for knowledge. I am thankful for the opportunity ESA gave me and hope to publish more works in the future.”


The venue for IAC 2008, the SECC in Glasgow

The 59th International Astronautical Congress and the International Space Exhibition were hosted at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow, Scotland. The conference theme was “From Imagination to Reality”, and this year the programme was the biggest ever, featuring plenary events, highlight lectures, an exhibition, technical sessions and interactive discussions. The event was organised by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the British Interplanetary Society (BIS).

The 60th IAC will take place 12 - 16 October 2009 in Daejeon, South Korea.

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