SGAC Completes a Successful Week at the International Astronautical Congress 2011 in Cape Town
17 October, 2011
After organising yet another successful Space Generation Congress (SGC) from 29 September – 1 October in Cape Town, South Africa, the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) was represented well at the 2011 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) from 3 – 7 October by many of the SGAC's young leaders.
First, multiple outreach events followed SGC which included volunteers supporting with:
- The Think Tank Brunch organised by the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and SGAC to review and give input into the South African space outreach plan
- The Space Suit Walk Around Cape Town City Centre which aimed to spread the word about the IAC and space to Cape Town by sending SGAC volunteers to walk around Cape Town dressed in Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA) space suits
- A public outreach event at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) where representatives of each of the five SGC Working Groups presented the SGC preliminary-result presentations and worked with children to build galileoscopes and stargaze
SGAC presence at the IAC was evident through its booth in the exhibition area, where young IAC participants could find out more information about the organisation, how they can join SGAC and become the future leaders of the Space Generation. The booth was managed by Chijioke Cj Nwosa (Nigeria) with the help of several SGAC members who volunteered.
Apart from the exhibition presence at IAC, more than 20 SGC delegates were selected to present their papers in the IAC technical sessions, an increase from last year’s total of 11 in Prague, Czech Republic, demonstrating the quality and growing participation of the SGAC attendees. Some of these presentations from SGC delegates at the IAC included those from the winner of the fourth annual Move an Asteroid technical paper competition by Alison Gibbings (United Kingdom), Mahammad Shafiq (Pakistan), Julia DeMarines (USA), Soyoung Chung (South Korea), Victoria Alonsoperez (Uruguay), Emmanuelle David (France), Chijioke Cj Nwosa (Nigeria), Vu Trong Thu (VietNam), Ashley Chandler (USA), Kristyn Rodzinyak (Canada), Catherine Doldirina (Georgia), Christopher Johnson (USA), Ariane Cornell (France/USA), Sydney Do (Australia), Juergen Schlutz (Germany), Farnaz Ghadaki (Canada/Iran), Stephanie Wan (USA), Crystal Forrester (Australia), Michael Brett (Australia) and Yohan Ferreira (Sri Lanka).
During the the week, Victoria Alonsoperez, SGAC’s National Point of Contact (NPoC) for Uruguay, was also invited along with representatives from NASA who were interviewed on Cape Town’s most popular morning show on 94.5 KFM. The NASA representatives took along with them a Moon rock which they explained in detail during the show, while Victoria donned the EVA suit.During the IAC, SGAC delegates Dmitry Rachkin (Russia) and Aziz Kayihan (Turkey) among others, participated in the youth plenary on "The Next Generation Visions for Earth Observations in the 21st Century." This provided students and young professionals an opportunity to share their ideas on how space-based Earth observation systems can be improved and sustained, ensuring that future decisions are informed by the best quality environmental data products.
SGAC arranged a reception during IAC at its booth for friends and visitors. SGAC Chair, Michael Brett, Co-Chair, Catherine Doldirina, Executive Director, Ariane Cornell and Deputy Executive Director, Andrea Jaime Albalat welcomed the approximately 150 IAC delegates who participated in the event along with several SGAC board members.
For the first time in Africa, SGAC Advisory Board Members met for the third and final board meeting of 2011. During the Advisory Board meeting, the Board reviewed and gave feed back on SGC 2011, as well as reviewed the progress of the 2011 Strategic Plan.
On the Wednesday of IAC, Dr. Pete Worden, Director of National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Centre, was the highlight speaker at SGAC's special event on the main stage in the IAC exhbit hall. He spoke with the next generation of space sector leaders in the audience that SGAC had gathered and he spoke about young professionals in the space sector and shared his personal experiences at NASA. To see a brief video of Korean astronaut, Yi So-Yeon, ask Dr. Worden a question on behalf of the young professionals and university students in the audience, ">please click here.
The IAC week also saw SGAC participate in the General Assembly (GA) of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), a meeting of all members of the Federation on various business of the IAF. During the GA, SGAC contributed by supporting the many positive IAF initiatives for young professionals and university students.
Finally, SGAC Executive Director, Ariane Cornell, was confirmed as a member of both the Space Education and Outreach Committee (SEOC) and the Young Professional Committee (YPC). The membership of incoming SGAC Deputy Executive Director, Andrea Jaime Albalat, was also proposed for the two committees and will be discussed further at the IAF spring meetings in March 2012. SGAC's participation in these committees will help draw SGAC and IAF activities closer to the benefit of the two organisations and their members.
SGAC looks forward to next year's SGC and IAC in Naples, Italy.