The 73rd International Aeronautical Congress got underway in Paris on Sunday 72 years after the French capital hosted the first edition.
With the overarching theme of space for all, this year’s event was presided over for the first time by incoming IAC president Clay Mowry.
In a video interview, he said that sustainability, investment and security would be the main goals of his tenure at the helm of an organisation boasting 468 members from 75 countries.
“Right now, space is really opening up […] I’ve been in space for almost 30 years now. And this is the most exciting time we’ve ever been in,” he said, explaining that with lower launch costs, space is becoming more accessible to universities and even schools are sending up cube sats.
He continued: “It’s so inspiring for young people in science, technology, engineering and math, to see what’s happening in space. And in fact, we have a workforce challenge to make sure we have enough engineers, scientists, researchers and people that want to come into the sector.”
During the IAC2022 opening day at Paris Expo, French prime minister Elizabeth Borne announced €9b investment in the space sector over the coming three years, a 24% increase compared to the last three-year period. In her speech, she outlined the country’s four space goals: maintaining autonomous access to space in France and Europe; embracing space-based services; placing France at the forefront of space for climate; and the military share of French space. For the latter, a €5b envelope was secured for space investment under the 2019-2025 military programming law.
Luxembourg is nurturing a growing space ecosystem after it launched the SpaceResources.lu initiative in 2016, followed by the Luxembourg Space Agency in 2018.
This year’s conference counts 250 exhibitors. The Luxembourg Space Agency has its own booth, featuring EmTroniX, European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC), GomSpace, ispacee inc., LMO, Lunar Outpost, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), LuxSpace, Maana Electric, Redwire Space, RespectUs, SES Satellites and Space Products and Innovation.
Some 8,000 people have registered to attend the trade forum, which spans 8,000 m2.
Yoav Landsman, founder and CEO of Moonscape, which is based in Luxembourg, said: “What strikes me is the huge crowd here. The organisers said that it’s the largest IAC ever by number of participants. So I don’t know if it’s the location or maybe a post-Covid effect, but anyway it’s obvious that the space industry is very vibrant and enthusiastic.”