More than 3,500 delegates including astronauts, scientists, entrepreneurs and heads of all major space agencies are attending the 68th edition of the International Astronautical Congress which is taking place in Adelaide from 25-29 September.
Held at the newly-revamped Adelaide Convention Centre, this year’s congress will include lectures and presentations about life on Mars, outer space settlements, new and emerging technologies and space junk retrieval missions.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security’ with a strong focus on promoting STEM career awareness to over 3000 South Australian school children and 700 teachers.
South Australian-born astronaut Andy Thomas will deliver a keynote address, Space X founder Elon Musk will update delegates on his plans for colonising Mars, while one of the world’s leading science educators, Planetary Society chief executive Bill Nye, will discuss solar-sailing spacecrafts during the event.
More than 60 exhibitors will be showcasing their innovative technology and ideas at the congress, including 11 local space start-ups and companies hoping to increase their footprint in the multi-billion-dollar global space industry.
Defence and Space Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the event comes as the SA Government continues to advocate strongly for a national space agency to grow the country’s share of the global $430 billion industry.
“South Australia is leading the way in creating a vibrant space hub, and is perfectly placed to host one of the world’s most prestigious conferences that is estimated to generate more than $25 million for the state’s economy,” the Minister stated.
“The International Astronautical Congress will put South Australia on a world stage, allowing our innovative start-ups and young entrepreneurs to showcase cutting-edge technology and ideas to space heavyweights and international companies.”
He said new opportunities for international collaboration in space were already in the pipeline for two SA companies, with local start-up Fleet Space Technologies signing a partnership agreement with French space agency, CNES, and Inovor Technologies on the verge of signing a collaboration agreement with Italian small satellite builder SITAEL.
“The space industry is a huge priority for South Australia, and we look forward to exploring new opportunities for international collaboration, investment and propelling our state further into this global industry during this fantastic event,” Mr Hamilton-Smith concluded.