13 September 2006
Every year, the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is organised by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and its associates, the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL).
This time round, the International Astronautical Congress, the 57th, is taking place in Valencia, on 2-6 October.
For organisations such as ESA and space professionals in general, the IAC congresses are excellent opportunities to share the latest information on current and future space projects and programmes and related technologies. This year, over 1400 papers have been selected to be presented in the course of 128 lecture and 47 interactive “poster” sessions. Almost 2500 delegates are expected to attend the Congress.
The opening ceremony, on Monday 2 October (10:00-11:30), will take place at the Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia, in Valencia’s City of Arts and Science.
ESA will be marking its presence at the IAC through its Director General, Jean-Jacques Dordain, who will be one of the key speakers with other Heads of Agency at the plenary event on the afternoon of 2 October (13:30-15:20).
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 duration of the Congress. Many of them will be available upon request for interviews with media representatives.
The morning plenary session of Tuesday 3 October (09:00-10:00), on Earth Monitoring Systems, will be with Volker Liebig, ESA Director for Earth Observation Programmes. The afternoon plenary (14:20-15:20) on Strategies for Space Exploration will be attended by Daniel Sacotte, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration Programmes.
Also on Tuesday 3 October (13:00-17:00 in room CMR1), specialists on space transportation systems from around the world will gather for a round table entitled “The European launcher sector within a global context”, organised jointly by ESA and the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI). ESA Director of Launchers, Antonio Fabrizi, will open the debate, followed by top representatives of CDTI, Arianespace, EADS and industry and of the agencies of various spacefaring countries (NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ISRO and others).
The morning plenary session of Thursday 5 October (09:00-10:00) also promises to be appealing as it will deal with life on Mars; Jorge Vago, ESA’s ExoMars project scientist, will be on the speakers’ panel.
On Friday 6 October, at the morning plenary entitled “The impact of space exploration on society”, it will be the turn of David Southwood, ESA Director of Science, to speak, while Maurizio Fea, of the ESA Educational Programme, will lecture at the afternoon plenary (15:30-17:00) on the theme “Space technologies for the benefit of societies”.
“Living your dreams” on Friday afternoon (17:10-18:40) will give ESA astronauts Michel Tognini, Gerhard Thiele, Pedro Duque, Claude Nicollier and Roberto Vittori the opportunity to share their experiences with the general public, as well as talk about future programmes. Thomas Reiter, currently aboard the International Space Station, will, together with his crewmates Pavel Vinogradov and Jeffrey Williams, greet the audience by means of a pre-recorded message from space.
The presence of ESA at IAC2006 in Valencia will also be highlighted by an exhibition featuring a real journey of discovery thanks to models of current planetary missions such as Mars Express, Venus Express, Smart-1, which has just ended its mission on the Moon, and Huygens, which successfully landed on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005.
Future European programmes for space exploration to Mars and beyond will be under the spotlight with a full-size model of the ExoMars rover, which is slated for launch mid-2011. Visitors will also be able to have a glimpse at the International Space Station and the ongoing Astrolab mission, being conducted by ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter (July-December 2006).
The Galileo satellite navigation system, European telecommunications satellites, meteorology satellites MetOp and Meteosat Second Generation and the new Sentinel spacecraft, part of the EU/ESA initiative for global monitoring, environment and security (GMES), will be on show, as will Ariane 5, Vega, ESA’s new launcher for placing small satellites into space, and Soyuz, the medium-size launcher soon to be launched from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
The exhibition will be open to professionals as of Monday 2 October at noon, and at 09:00 to 19:00 from Tuesday 3 to Thursday 5, closing at 17:00 on Friday 6 October. The general public will have access each afternoon from 15:00 and all day on Friday.
For further information, please contact:
Franco Bonacina, ESA Media Relations Office
Phone: + 33 1 5369 7155
Fax: + 33 1 5369 7690
More info on IAC2006 at http://www.iac2006.com
More info on IAF at http://www.iafastro.com
Philippe Willekens, IAF Executive Director
Phone: + 33 1 5369 7538
More info on ESA at http://www.esa.int
For further information: