74th International Astronautical Congress

32 days 05 hours 48 minutes

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International Astronautical Congress comes back to Baku after half-century break

Today, during the elections held at the General Assembly of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in the capital city of the United States of America, Washington D.C, Baku got the right to host the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in 2023. Among the candidate cities to host this prestigious event were Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, and New Delhi.

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) is the world's leading space advocacy body with 366 members in 68 countries. The International Astronautical Congress (IAC), held annually since 1950 in different countries, is the most remarkable event of the Federation. This congress is a global platform that brings together more than 6,000 representatives of the global space community, including heads of leading space agencies, scientific centers, and international organizations, as well as famous scientists, high-level professionals from the private sector, young researchers and students. Throughout Congress, participants get the opportunity to follow up on the latest trends and innovations in the space industry.

This year’s Congress, declared open with the speech of the Vice President of the United States Michael Pence, was dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the Moon landing. During the event, increasing year-by-year market share and importance of the private companies of NewSpace industry which presents more effective, commercially viable and faster solutions were particularly emphasized. The participation of the prominent figures from the NewSpace industry, such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos at the Congress, has increased the international community's interest in this event even further.

It is worth to note that thanks to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev’s special care for the development of the space industry in our country and support in the pre-election processes, wide promotional campaigns were held during the events of the Federation this year.

Holding the Congress under the theme Global Challenges and Opportunities: Give a Chance to Space in our capital will make significant contributions to the establishment of even closer ties with foreign space agencies, companies and organizations, acceleration of the transfer of space technologies to our country, development of human capital, as well as further strengthen of our country's reputation as a reliable partner in the international arena. Baku will host a global congress that brings together more than 6,000 delegates from the space industry for the first time.

In fact, there is a rich history behind holding IAC in Azerbaijan. The 24th IAC was held for the first time in the Soviet Union in Baku by the initiative of the National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev in 1973. Over 1,500 delegates as well as cosmonauts from 17 countries participated in this historical event. Many prominent figures of the space industry of the time, including then-President of the International Astronautical Congress Luigi Gerardo Napolitano, President of the International Academy of Astronautics Charles Draper, American astronaut Thomas P. Stafford, twice Heros of the USSR Vladimir Shatalov, Vitaly Sevastyanov and Georgy Beregovoy, made statements about the scientific and universal importance of space.

The congress, held under the theme Space Research: Influence on Science and Technology, laid the foundation of the development of space and astronautics in Azerbaijan. In August of the next year, the south-eastern Scientific Center for Natural Resource Studies – Caspiy was established in Baku. Moreover, in December of that year, with the establishment of the Special Design Bureau of Space Instrument Engineering under the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences space-based researche was launched. Over the next years, about 3,000 Azerbaijani scientists and engineers have been working on the equipment served for the Space Program of Soviet Union and used in the Salut-7 and Soyuz T-11 orbital complexes.

The second phase of the development of the space industry of Azerbaijan has started by the decree of Mr. President Ilham Aliyev on November 4, 2008 “On the establishment of the space industry in Azerbaijan and the launch of telecommunications satellites”. In 2013, the Azerspace-1 telecommunication satellite, in 2014, Azersky optical Earth Observation satellite, and in 2018, the Azerspace-2 telecommunications satellite was launched into orbit. Today, Azerbaijan is an active member of the cosmic club with its satellite projects.

Our country has already gained a positive image in the international arena with large-scale forums, conferences, and symposiums, intercultural dialogues, as well as events on high-level held in here. Azerbaijan has become a unique regional hub for business events thanks to the modernity and ultramodern infrastructure of its capital city Baku. Besides, the stability, established on the background of events happening in the region provides a solid basis for holding international events in Azerbaijan. Therefore, it is no mere coincidence that the city which hosts the IAC in the CIS after half a century break is Baku.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the success of Baku to host the IAC 2023 owes to the special contribution of a number of institutions, namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Tourism Agency, the Heydar Aliyev Center and Baku Congress Center. Both talented and active students of six universities of our country – National Aviation Academy, Baku State University, ADA University, Baku High Oil School, Baku Branch of Moscow State University and Azerbaijan-French University participated in IAC 2019 as Young Ambassador. Students' participation in the conference on such a scale gives them opportunity to get acquainted with the innovations in the space industry, to contribute to the Azerbaijan space industry, as well as increases their interest in this field.

The Congress, along with the demonstration of the historical and cultural traditions, multicultural values and tourism potential of our country, is of great importance for conveying the realities of Azerbaijan to the world.

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