Students attend the 63rd International Astronautical Congress in Italy

ESA top management comments on education, IAC 2012
ESA top management comments on education, IAC 2012
31 October 2012

One of the most important events on the space calendar is the IAC conference, which took place in Naples, Italy from 1 to 5 October. In the framework of the International Space Education Board (ISEB) activities, 18 European students were sponsored by ESA’s Education Office to attend this year’s edition.

Students attend dedicated panel sessions at IAC 2012

The ISEB board, chaired this year by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), organised a special student participation programme to complement the regular technical sessions of the conference.

The student programme began the day before the official opening of the IAC, with a meet-and-greet event where students were introduced to the Heads of Education of ISEB’s member organisations, as well as to each other, in an informal setting. The sponsored students’ participation in the IAC gave them the opportunity to listen to presentations of leading scientists and engineers from around the world. They also got to present their own research to experts in their respective fields, either in technical sessions or during the poster session of the regular IAC programme.

ISEB Heads of Agencies interact with students

The student activities mainly took place in the International Student Zone (ISZ), set up by the ISEB partners in the conference’s exhibition area.

On the first day of the conference, students had the chance to meet and interact with the Heads of Agencies of the ISEB board (or their delegates), where ESA was represented by ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain . On the second day, the students participated in a panel session on human exploration of space, where ESA was represented by Thomas Reiter, former ESA astronaut and current Director of ESA’s Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations. On the third day ESA was represented Mr Amnon Ginati, Head of the Integrated and Telecommunication-related Applications Department, in a panel session dedicated to space applications.

Panel session for students on human exploration of space

Three ESA-sponsored students presented their research at the ISZ:

  • Csilla Orgel, from Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary, presented her work on an integrated crewed Mars exploration simulation at Rio Tinto;
  • Neus Llado-Gambin, from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain, presented her work on capturing small asteroids for mining purposes;
  • Massimo Vetrisano, from Italy, attending the University of Strathclyde, UK, presented his work on navigation strategies for ESA’s European Student Moon Orbiter (ESMO) Education project.


ESA Director General with ESA-sponsored students

In addition to ESA’s representatives in the panel sessions, the students also had the opportunity to meet with several other representatives of ESA’s leadership. Informal meetings were arranged between the students and Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Head of ESA Policies Department, Giuseppe Morsillo, Director of ESA’s Directorate of Policies, Planning and Control, and also – on a dedicated session - with Jean Jacques Dordain. Not only did these meetings give the students the opportunity to have their questions answered, it also gave ESA’s leadership a chance to listen to the interests and concerns of young people going into the space labour market.

Panel session for students on space applications

The 64th IAC will take place in late September 2013 in Beijing, China. ESA’s Education Office will announce sponsorship opportunities for students in the spring of 2013.

The 63rd International Astronautical Congress, organised by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), was held at the Mostra d’Oltremare conference centre in Naples, Italy. This year’s theme was “Space science and technology for the needs of all”.

ESA-sponsored students meet the Head of ESA Policies Department

The IAC Student Participation Programme, which this year counted more than 80 students from countries spread across the globe - is an initiative of the International Space Education Board (ISEB), established by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with the participation of the French, Korean and South African space agencies (CNES,KARI, SANSA, respectively) and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC).

ISEB’s educational activities and programmes aim to enhance the literacy and learning opportunities of young scientists and engineers, and help ensure the long term availability of a well-qualified space workforce.

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