Students sponsored by ESA participate in IAC 2009
The 60th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), one of the most important events of the space calendar, was held in South Korea, 12-16 October. Among the 3,000 space experts and enthusiasts from 60 nations who attended were 18 European students sponsored by ESA.
One of the Education Office’s major objectives is to encourage and support science, technology and engineering students. The annual IAC is, therefore, regarded as an important opportunity for European students to present their academic papers, interact with their peers from other countries, and meet experts in various sectors of the space industry.
The students selected to attend this prestigious event assembled at the European Space Technology Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, where they were given a tour of the facilities. After their arrival at the city of Daejeon on 9 October, time was set aside for them to acclimatise, with a visit to the capital city, Seoul, where they could experience Korean food and culture.
Student interaction and networking is an important aspect of the IAC, and an introductory student session in the Conference Hall on 11 October enabled them to present the research in which they have participated, with ESA students reporting on their involvement in CubeSats, the REXUS campaign, and other projects.
During the congress, the participants were also able to display their posters and meet every day in the International Student Zone.
The Student Participation Programme, organised by the International Space Education Board (ISEB), offered lectures by representatives of the participating space agencies on a wide range of space-related topics. These included practical advice on how to pursue research or a career in space. In particular, the Young Professional Panel enabled students to meet young space professionals who recounted their own experiences and career development.
During another session, the students were able to put questions to the NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, the Director General of ESA, Jean-Jacques Dordain, the President of the Canadian Space Agency, Steve MacLean, and the Executive Director of JAXA, Masanori Homma.
However, the focus of the visit was the congress, where students could learn more about their particular field as well as related research. All of the European students presented papers in the IAC technical sessions. They also enjoyed attending each others' presentations and finding out about their research.
"I learned about things that I had never come across before," said Carmen Müller, one of the ESA-sponsored students. "I also saw how passionate people can be about their research projects and got really inspired to do something space-related later on in my studies, such as space medicine."
The 60th International Astronautical Congress was held at the Daejeon Convention Centre in one of the main cities of South Korea. The conference theme was “Space for Sustainable Peace and Progress”. The event was organised by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).
The IAC Student Participation Programme is an initiative of the International Space Education Board (ISEB), established by ESA, NASA, JAXA, CNES and CSA.