The conference ‘Building a Safer Space Together’, taking place in Rome from 21 to 23 October, is an invitation to reflect and exchange information on the essential aspects of space safety on a global basis.
Organised by the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), the conference is supported by ESA and other space agencies all around the world. The IAASS was established after the Shuttle Columbia accident by a group of safety engineers involved in the International Space Station Programme. The aim is to shape and advance a global space safety culture (technical, organisational and socio-political) to make space missions, vehicles, stations, extraterrestrial habitats, equipment and payloads safer for the general public, ground personnel crews and flight participants.
The once exclusive ‘club’ of nations with autonomous sub-orbital and orbital space access capabilities is becoming crowded with fresh and ambitious new entrants. Commercial spaceports are being planned and built, while some of the old ones are changing hands from military to private and commercial management.
In the human spaceflight arena a commercial market may finally start to emerge with personal spaceflight and (government) demand for private cargo transportation services to orbit. Besides the national ambitions in space, international cooperation both civil and commercial is also gaining momentum. The astronaut who may land on Mars some decades from now will probably not carry a single national flag, as did the first astronauts on the Moon nearly 40 years ago.
During launch and return operations, space systems will share more and more an airspace crowded by aviation traffic, while aviation will increasingly rely on safety-critical services based in space. Finally, most nations now own important space assets, mainly satellites of various kinds, which, like human missions, are under the constant threat of ever-increasing space debris.
The upcoming three-day conference in Rome is dedicated to providing participants with a broad insight and open discussion on space safety and thereby furthering international cooperation and scientific advancement in all related fields.
For more information:
Head of the Independent Flight Safety and Planetary Protection Office
Directorate of Technical and Quality Management