SGC 2012 Working Session Topics

One of the primary components of the Space Generation Congress is the working group sessions. Each delegate is assigned into one of five groups. The groups in the break-out sessions discuss a pertinent space topic in one of the five themes: Industry, Agency, Society, Exploration, and Earth Observation. Subject matter experts from the field will join these working groups to support them with knowledge to make the group discussions more fruitful. The preliminary conclusions of each group are presented to the rest of the delegates on the last afternoon of SGC and the final conclusions are written into reports that are presented at the International Astronautical Congress, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and other conferences around the world in the year following the Congress. For last year's report, please see here.

When you apply for the 11th Annual Space Generation Congress, be sure to review this page to choose your working group preferences.


Space Generation Congress 2012 Topics

Industry Space Transportation

This working group will discuss space transportation, and the role of the new European launch capability in the international sector; linking it to the country hosting the Congress, as the Italian industry is the main partner in the new European launcher, VEGA, which had a successful first flight on February 2012.

2011 and 2012 have been full of news and advancement in space transportation: the Space Shuttle retirement, the new role of the commercial space sector, emerging countries with new launch capabilities, and the increased overlapping of some launcher characteristics. It is indeed a topic that all space agencies around the world are considering in their national programmes.

The SGC working group could discuss:

  • Countries with launch capabilities: increasing the number of countries with launch capabilities, what each can offer, differences among them, potential challenges, and issues of competition and/or collaboration
  • European launch capability and its place in the international context: the recent successful VEGA launch, the Soyuz’s new launch platform at the European Spaceport, and potential collaborations with other regions in the world

The SGC working group would make recommendations on:

  • How to improve the European launch capability image at international level
  • How countries with similar launch capabilities could have stronger collaborations between them


Agency The International Space Station

In 2010, the main partners of the International Space Station (ISS) agreed on an extension of the ISS for at least 10 more years. Japan, Russia, USA and Europe, the main partners, committed to extend the life of the ISS up to 2020 and possibly even 2028. The economic crisis that is affecting some of those partners has caused several cuts in their respective budgets for space activities. The retirement of the Shuttle and the current lack of a replacement for it are making access to the Low Earth Orbit station not as easy as before.

The SGC working group could discuss:

  • The implications and benefits of this extension at an international level
  • The use of the ISS as an analogue platform for human space exploration
  • The ISS and outreach: Android applications, websites, human spaceflight programmes, etc.

The SGC working group would make recommendations on:

  • Potential new collaborations with other countries on the utilisation of the ISS for the coming years
  • Suggestions for how to use the ISS as the main outreach tool for space


Society Space for Humanitarian Relief

Humanitarian relief during natural or man-made disasters requires rapid decision making with accurate, real-time data that only satellites can provide. Space data can help support humanitarian tasks focused on the people that need assistance, the cause of the problem or the response to the problem. Satellite data, for example, can be used to find good locations for refugee camps, and support with logistics when planning, building, and monitoring. Damage estimates and planning data are also crucial for reconstruction activities, and space technologies are known to be excellent supporting assets. Moreover, NGOs are known for using space-derived data to influence the behaviour of governments and to provide public awareness and verification of war crimes.

The SGC working group could discuss:

  • How space is used in humanitarian efforts in conflicted areas (e.g., migration of refugees)
  • How NGOs (e.g., UNOCHA, WFP, UNHCR, WHO, Red Cross, Doctor's Without Boarders) are using space tools

The SGC working group would make recommendations on:

  • How governments and NGOs can improve the usage of space tools in humanitarian efforts in conflicted areas
  • What type of partnerships between NGOs and the space sector could exist


Exploration Communications for Exploration

Space agencies are focusing their exploration programmes beyond the ISS. The Moon, NEO (Near-Earth Objects such as asteroids) and Mars, are the primary destinations being considered by the space agencies. Among all the difficulties to overcome, communications is one of the most important.

The SGC working group could discuss:

  • The importance of communications in exploration programmes (e.g., for tele-medicine, crew support, and instructions for robotic exploration)
  • Communication challenges depending on the destionations on exploration beyond LEO, such as delay time
  • The importance of crews' self-reliance during non-real time communication with mission control

The SGC working group would make recommendations on:

  • How to implement new methods of communications beyond LEO
  • Which analogue activities should be performed on Earth to test new communications systems and improve self-decision processes for crews


Earth ObservationSpace Resources for Water Management

Desertification, access to drinking water, and management of water-related emergencies are some examples of problems that countries are facing, particularly those in developing regions. Space technology can contribute to improve the water management of the Earth in many different ways.

The SGC working group could discuss:

  • Previous water-related natural disasters occurring around the world and the national emergency strategies followed
  • Current space technologies available being used for water management purposes (e.g., Earth-observation satellites, remote sensing, etc.)
  • Awareness of developing and developed countries of the capabilities of space technology for the improvement of water management

The SGC working group would make recommendations on:

  • How to enhance capabilities of countries in the use of space-related technologies, applications, services, and information for identifying and managing water resources
  • How to increase awareness among decision-makers, researchers, and academic communities of space technology applications for addressing water-related issues, primarily in developing countries, and how to strength their collaboration
  • How to promote educational and public awareness initiatives in the area of water resources management, as well as to contribute to capacity building process in this area

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