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N° 39–2008: ESA at IAC 2008, Glasgow

18 September 2008

The 59th International Astronautical Congress is taking place between 29 September and 3 October in Glasgow, Scotland. IAC 2008 is being organised by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and the British Interplanetary Society (BIS). This year’s venue is the state-of-the-art Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre situated on the banks on the River Clyde.

Over two thousand space programme leaders, space professionals and other individuals interested in space activities will gather in Glasgow from all around the world to discuss past achievements, current activities and future plans to utilise and explore space.

The theme for IAC 2008 is "From imagination to reality" and this year the programme is the biggest ever. It will feature ten Plenary Events, five Highlight Lectures, three Late Breaking News sessions, an Exhibition, Technical Sessions and Interactive Discussions.

Starting with the traditional Heads of Agency Plenary session on Monday 29 September, where NASA (US), ESA (Europe), JAXA (Japan), CSA (Canada), Roscosmos (Russia), CNSA (China) and ISRO (India) will outline their plans for the coming years, the Plenary programme will continue, covering space exploration, space law issues, space technology and climate change. Topics as varied as science fiction, space medicine and commercial spaceflight will also be tackled.

The European Space Agency (ESA) will be marking its presence at the IAC through its Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, who will be one of the key speakers along with other Heads of Agency at the 29 September afternoon Plenary (starting at 13:30). At 16:30-17:30, he and Simonetta di Pippo, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight, will meet the press at the ESA exhibition area and will report on the outcome of ATV re-entry which – if all goes according to schedule – will have just taken place.

Later that day at 18:00 hours, ESA’s Director General will again be under the spotlight, giving Highlight Lecture 1: “Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the ISS”. Highlight Lectures – also open to the general public – will round off each day. Other topics covered will be "Space exploration beyond the vision" and "Fusion, antimatter & the space drive".

Several ESA Directors, together with a selected group of ESA scientists, engineers, astronauts and specialists in various disciplines, will organise or co-organise events, deliver papers and chair sessions throughout the Congress. Many of them will be available on request for interviews with media representatives.

A lively ESA exhibition area welcomes visitors for a journey of discovery, with models and impressive images of current and future planetary missions such as Herschel/Planck, due for launch next year, as well as future European space exploration missions to Mars, with a scale-model of the future ExoMars rover on display. The International Space Station, and the achievements of Europe’s Columbus laboratory and Jules Verne ATV, will be also highlighted.

Two joint EC/ESA flagship initiatives will be showcased: the Galileo satellite navigation system and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) with the new Sentinel-1 spacecraft. Also on display will be forthcoming European telecommunication satellites such as AlphaSat and the soon-to-be-launched gravity field explorer GOCE.

Ariane 5, Vega, ESA’s new launcher for small satellites, and Soyuz, the medium-size launcher soon to be operational from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, will also be on display in the exhibition area.

Hall 4 will be home to a total of 60 exhibitor stands allowing industry, agencies and space institutions from all over the world to present their activities.

The exhibition will be open to professionals as of 29 September (opening times: 12:00-18:00 hours on the Monday, 10:00 to 18:00 on the following days, Friday closing at noon). The general public will have free access to the exhibition on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 October from 16:00 to 18:00 hours, and on Friday 3 October from 09:00 to 12:00 hours.

Other events include: the UN/IAF Workshop; the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Academy Day; young professionals and student programmes; a schools workshop programme for kids; the 17th Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, organised annually by the International Institute of Space Law; and a “Less Remote” arts and humanities symposium on the future of space exploration.

Media representatives wishing to attend are required to register via the IAC 2008 dedicated website at http://www.iac2008.co.uk/

More information is available at: http://www.iafastro.org

For more information on press activities and accreditation: Rocio.Caparros@iafastro.org

Media representatives already at the Congress venue on Sunday 28 September will be invited to assemble at 17:00 hours in a dedicated area in Hall 2, near the Registration area, for a short briefing on the related press activities.

For more information:

Franco Bonacina

European Space Agency

Director General’s Spokesperson and Head of Media Relations Office

Communication and Knowledge Department

Phone (+33 1) 5369 7299

Fax: (+33 1) 5369 7690

e-mail: media@esa.int

For further information:

ESA - Media Relations Office
Tel: +33 1 5369 7299
Fax: +33 1 5369 7690



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