Impressions on the International Astronautical Congress IAC2015

Chiara Cocchiara and Jan Svoboda, young professionals working at EUMETSAT respectively as System Operations Engineer and System Engineer for End-to-End Instrument Chains, participated this year at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC2015) in Jerusalem as delegates, members of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC).

The Space Generation Advisory Council is a global non-governmental organisation and network representing university students and young space professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia. It brings together young people interested in space from all over the world in order to promote a fresh view into the space policy forum.
Every year SGAC holds events and conferences and the Space Generation Congress (SGC) annually brings together top young minds from around the world to focus on key space topics since 2001. The Congress takes place in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

How was your experience at the IAC2015?

The experience of a congress is always enriching. You feel part of the space community at high levels and you have the possibility to meet important people, such as Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, or Jan Woerner, ESA General Director. The congress gives you the chance to share your work and learn from other agencies. The experience this year was even more amazing because we actively contributed to the organization of the IAC2015, bringing together a workshop as a side event, in cooperation with the Space Generation Congress and the Space Operations Workshop.

 

What were the things you liked the most and what did you learn?

The congress is a mix of tradition and new topics that are different every year. It is always good to participate as you can get a feeling of the “hot topics” among the space agencies. Last year Rosetta was the center of the congress, together with the ISRO Achievement for Mars exploration. This year it was the colonization of the moon together with the spreading of cubesats. What we enjoy the most is that this is a possibility to see how other agencies develop ideas in our field, and to bring innovation to our agency.
In addition, by working on the workshop, we got to see a different aspect of “space”: we had the chance to train different types of skills such as management, leadership and others that complement the engineering side.
And finally, the congress is a great way to meet new people and make new friends from all over the world.

What was the workshop you organised about?

The workshop focused on how to carry out space operations for big satellites as well as cubesats via three different approaches to space operations: the large agency approach, the commercial operator approach, and the small company approach.
EUMETSAT represented the Agency’s point of view with Sean Burns, Head of Real-time Services and System Operations Division (RSO), Telespazio VEGA Deutschland GmbH the commercial point of view with Ran Qadar, and the Group of Astrodynamics for the Use of Space Systems represented the small company point of view with Chantal Cappelletti.
After the lectures all participants have been assigned to a team and had a chance to design their own mission. The teams followed the guidelines provided by the experts in order to design missions which met their appropriate criteria. The missions have then been given constructive criticism, and lessons learned by Sean Burns.

 

How can people get involved with the Space Advisory Council?

The SGAC provides young people with a great network and good opportunities.
People can get involved at different levels, by joining the online community or by actively contributing to the organisation of activities and conferences and participating to events.
For example, the next conference coming up will be a “SGAC Workshop on CubeSats and Space Operations” at the upcoming 14th International Conference on Space Operations (SpaceOps 2016), May 16 – 20 Daejeon, South Korea.
Jan and Chiara are working hard on preparing the workshop and are also already enthusiastically preparing next year’s Space Generation Congress that will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico. Check the video of this year’s conference highlights to see what it’s all about!

You can read all about SGAC on their website and see testimonials of many former SGAC members that went on to have a great career in the space sector.

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About the Author

Mara Dambour

Mara Dambour

Learning Zone Writer