September 30, 2022

Global Gathering of the #SpaceInspired: My First International Astronautical Congress

Every year the International Astronautical Congress showcases varying topics across all space sectors and offers the latest developments in research within the industry. Hosted in a different location each year, IAC brings together participants from across the globe to collaborate, learn, and share their space curiosities with other #SpaceInspired delegates.

I had the honor of attending my very first IAC in Paris, France this past week with Higher Orbits. This stellar experience allowed me to learn about some of the exciting things our industry is working on and see how organizations near and far come together to create solutions for anticipated issues in future projects.

The 73rd International Astronautical Congress gathered 6,000 participants from government agencies and commercial companies worldwide. A range of topics were covered including deep space exploration plans, Low-Earth Orbit operations, Moon and Mars infrastructure systems, and so much more.

Across technical talks, exhibit hall displays, and plenary sessions, there was an abundance of information for any and every interest in the industry. As we embark into the Artemis era, I was most interested in the panels and sessions that discussed the human aspect of our travels to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Social, physical, and mental impacts are an expected obstacle of continued space travel for our astronauts. A few technical sessions talked about new technology, methods, and infrastructure systems that can aid some of these worries for scientists.

This was my first major conference, so I was pretty excited to experience the unique booths throughout the exhibit hall. I was most impressed by the creativity surrounding many of these booths which included interactive displays, colorful backdrops, scaled models, and artwork.

Lockheed Martin’s booth featured a mobile photo area where conference goers could take a picture from “within” the Carina Nebula. ArianeGroup had a portion of their wall dedicated to some cosmically creative artwork inspired by ArianeSpace’s rockets. Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer, Thales Alenia Space even featured a space inspired dress made of thermal blankets from pressurized cargo vessel, CYGNUS.

The integration of these visual and interactive booths created a more welcoming environment for me to step into and learn more about an organization and its featured projects. Students (of all ages) connect with space in their own ways. Artistic representations of our achievements in space are an out of this world way to help spark inspiration to embrace the industry. I truly enjoyed these connections presented throughout the exhibit hall and during many panel sessions.

It was an incredible experience to be a part of IAC 2022 with so many creative and #SpaceInspired individuals. I had a blast connecting with some galactically great fellow space enthusiasts and industry leaders. I cannot wait to represent Higher Orbits at this conference again in the future!

About the author

Katy Thompson was introduced into the space scene in 2020 when she began working with Higher Orbits as a Communications Intern. Since then, she has graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with her B.S. in Communications and a minor in business administration. Thompson holds the position of Communications Director for Higher Orbits and enjoys using that position to help connect students with Higher Orbits programs, educational resources, and all things space.

Katy Thompson

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