Monday, September 22, 2014

The 65th International Astronautical Congress

Next week, I will be attending and presenting at the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC).  It is the annual space conference with the highest attendance in the world.  Thousands of experts in industry and academia from all corners of the world with gather to share expertise in anything and everything space-related.  The event will take place between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3 in Toronto, Ontario, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre; the location changes every year - it's like the Olympics for nerds.

The scale of the event is kind of mind-boggling.  There will be 180 symposiums, each on a specific space topic.  Each symposium consists of anywhere from five to ten 14-minute talks.  Therefore, there will be about one thousand presenters and more than one thousand presentations, as some speakers will be giving several talks.

It is impossible to physically attend more than 6% of these talks.  At any given time, there are eighteen symposiums taking place.  When attending such a conference, one must make choices; there will be interesting talks missed because something more interesting is taking place at the time.  Spinning it more positively: there is always something amazing going on.

The symposium that I am presenting in is called "Global Strategy for Space Elevators", and takes place on the Thursday afternoon.  My specific presentation is entitled: "Static Deformation of Space Elevator Tether due to Climber".  There are seven others within the space elevator domain.  I am particularly looking forward to "Dynamics of Moon Elevator" and "Experimental Study on Effect of Climbing Rider on Lateral Deviation of Space Elevator".  The latter indicates some kind of mechanical assembly.

My aim is to update this blog daily during the conference, summarizing some of the talks I have attended.  My readers get a good deal: they get some of the conference highlights, but skip the $1,400 (CDN) attendance fee - pretty steep way to inform oneself about the cutting edge of space-related research and activities.  You may be wondering whether or not presenters have to pay... Yes, they do, but fortunately for me (and the body sponsoring my conference), professionals under 35 years of age save about one thousand dollars on their conference registration.  Full-time students can also attend at a reasonable cost ($130).

Other than the technical research talks, I am looking forward to a few specific items on the agenda:

1. Opening ceremonies: Cirque de Soleil will be performing on the Monday.  Also, in a strange coincidence, a musical guest, Peter Katz, who happens to be a close friend of mine, will be performing at the conference.

2. Heads of Agencies: On the Monday afternoon, the leaders of many of the world's major space agencies (NASA, ESA, CSA, etc) will come together to discuss the latest developments, and a Q&A will follow.

3. Road to Space Elevator Study Group: On Thursday, before the technical session involving space elevators, many of the experts from around the world who have done and who continue to do research on the subject of space elevators will convene.  I am honoured to have been invited to this study group.

Talk soon.  For now, I'm packing my bags, and getting ready to bump shoulders with world leaders in space. 

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