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N° 39–1999: IAF anniversary Congress reaches out to the next generation

22 September 1999

More than 2000 space experts, scientists, engineers, managers and students from around the world are gathering early in October for the 50th anniversary Congress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), to present and attend over 900 papers on the main theme: "Space - an integral part of the information age".

This year's IAF Congress takes place from 4 to 8 October at the RAI Conference Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In parallel a large international exhibition with participants from space agencies and industrial firms and research institutions engaged in space activities around the world will be held at the RAI Centre. The exhibition will be open to the general public on two days, 7 and 8 October.(*)

The opening on 4 October, from 9:45 hrs to 12:00 hrs, will include an address by the Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs, Mrs. Annemarie Jorritsma-Lebbink, followed by the formal opening of the exhibition by His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange.

The role of ESA will be highlighted on the first day by its Director General, Antonio Rodotà, and by numerous ESA session chairmen and speakers throughout the Congress, which will be an exceptional opportunity to meet leading figures from the space sector. Special attention will be devoted to ESA's new Outreach Programme for the next generation of space engineers and scientists: 450 students selected from all ESA member states will attend the Congress and there will be a special session for them with Mr. Rodotà on the evening of Thursday, 7 October.

In addition to a broad exchange of views and ideas among industry professionals and government specialists on the main theme, the Congress will cover such topics as present and future space communication technologies, missions to inner and outer space plus many environmental, economic, legal, management and political aspects of the world's space programmes.

The international exhibition - Public days on 7 and 8 October The attractive international exhibition will reflect most of the Congress topics. Besides a 1:10 scale model of the International Space Station suspended from the ceiling of the Dutch pavilion, the ESA contribution will feature the original capsule of the Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator (ARD) launched by Ariane 5 in October last year. Other exhibits will emphasise the Agency's activities in the field of technology transfer.

ESA's space programmes will be further illustrated by models of the XMM to be launched in December and by a look ahead to the Envisat launch in the year 2000 and 3-D glimpses of the International Space Station.

(*) Opening times for the public:
Thursday, 7 Oct. : 08:30-21:00 hrs
Friday, 8 Oct. : 08:30-18:00 hrs
Entrance fee : Dfl. 12,50

During the two public days a " Speakers' Corner" will be installed to inform - and also entertain - visitors on a variety of space themes: from space history to weather forecasting, from satellite images for education to telemedicine, from beautiful images of the recent solar eclipse to the Space Station.

A "Space Market", set up by museums and amateur groups interested in space, will help to ensure the exhibition is a lively event.

Visits to ESTEC
Since The Netherlands is also host to ESA's largest establishment, ESTEC, Congress participants can put their names down for bus trips to ESTEC on the afternoons of 5 and 6 October, on a first-come-first-served basis. The flight units of ESA's Artemis and Envisat spacecraft can be seen there, as can the newly established Erasmus User Centre for the International Space Station, with a full-scale mock-up of the Columbus space laboratory.

Media representatives will be able to meet ESA specialists during most of the IAF Congress by applying to the Press Officers at the ESA exhibition stand.

For detailed Congress and programme information, visit

Accredited members of the international press are invited to attend the Congress. Applicants for media participant registration should apply to :
Congrex, Secretariat IAF '99, Congrex Holland
P.O.B. 302
2000 AH Amsterdam
Tel: 020-504 02 00
Fax: 020-504 02 00

Members of the press are invited to attend all plenary and technical sessions, the Opening Ceremony and the Welcoming Reception.