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SGC and IAC 2018 in Bremen, Germany!

15 October 2018

Thanks to the support of the Marie Curie Alumni Association, I just returned from 1.5 weeks of space overload (Is there such thing?!)! 

The Space Generation Congress (SGC) 2018, was held in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Bremen, Germany. SGC brought together 150 students and young professionals from more than 30 countries, working tirelessly from 27 to 29 September to discuss the future of space activities in the context of 7 working groups under the guidance of industry experts.

As former Chair of the Space Generation Advisory Council and its Advisory Board member, I had the pleasure of supporting the team in this effort on-site, and prior to the event. The event closed with the Space Generation Congress closing Dinner, hosted at the RATHaus Bremen (Bremen City Hall) by the President of the Senate and Mayor of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and supported by Lockheed Martin, bringing together the SGC delegates and about 100 high level guests from the space community.

This event was followed by the International Astronautical Congress, hosted by ZARM from October 1st to 5th. On the Sunday prior to the IAC, we held meetings for the IAF Space Education and Outreach Committee (SEOC) and the Workforce Development – Young Professionals Programme (WD-YPP) Committee, to discuss the programs of the week in these meetings in preparation of IAC 2018.

Sunday afternoon continued with the advisory Board Meeting of the Space Generation Advisory Council, where the SGAC team presented the great advances of SGAC towards its vision 2020. We closed the day with the Emerging Space Leaders (ESL) Grant Programme Anniversary Event, where I had the privilege to share the stage with a panel of 5 other ESL grantees to share our perspectives on its impact on our careers.

IAC started on October 1st, with a great opening ceremony including an interactive component where the components took part in creating a show with the orchestra at the OVB Bremen. They tried to outdo themselves with the Opening Reception, where a modern dance vibe was mixed with a traditional port city environment, all under the roof of Bremen’s OVB. 

As always, the SGAC booth at the IAC exhibition, acted as the focal point for bringing together the students and young professionals during the week. We celebrated his with the join SGAC-Space Foundation reception at the booth on Tuesday.

During the IAC, as the Global Technical Symposium (GTS) coordinator, I had the opportunity to work with a team of young professionals to facilitate these sessions which are broadcast online and enable presenters not able to be present on-site to share their work as part of the IAC. I also Chaired two sessions focused on primary and secondary space education on Friday.

IAC is always full of interesting events to attend, along with many additional side events that you learn about on the spot, and many of which I cannot even grasp in these few lines. For me, the highlights of the week were my presentations on I2HELP (Intelligent Integrated Health Evaluation and Learning Platform) at the Human Space Flight Session, and “A Misison to Mars” outreach course at the Secondary Space Education session. As a member of the Young Professional Programme, we also organized a side event involving NASA, Lockheed Martin and Blue Origin where the path towards our next goals in space were laid out. 

The public day at IAC was also an interesting concept, bringing in a crowd of more than 10000 people to IAC, not only to interact with the exhibitors, but also to have a live chat with the International Space station and in particular Alexander Gerst, the German commander of the ISS.

Talking about highlights, let’s not forget the fact that SGAC won the IAF Diversity award, recognizing its promotion of the 3G (Gender, Generation, Geography) diversity concept! Having been involved in both the application and interview processes, it was great to see our efforts come to fruition. SGAC is diverse with or without an award, but the recognition just motivates us to do better.

This year, as the SGAC Alumni Lead I had the privilege to organize the SGAC Alumni Gathering at IAC 2018 supported by Planet, which was followed by the launch of the SGAC Alumni Fund, a fund dedicated to enable more students and young professionals to engage with the SGAC and international space communities, by providing them with scholarships supported by the SGAC alumni. 

In addition, thanks to interest from Boeing and support from the International Student Education Board, we managed to organize a fireside chat with astronaut Christopher Ferguson, the first commercial astronaut to command the Boeing Starliner on its maiden flight next year. 

All good things come to an end; yet my Bremen adventure came to a close in a bitter-sweet way; while I was sad that the event will end, I was honored to receive the Young Space Leader Award, at the Closing Ceremony of IAC 2018 on Friday. 

As always, IAC was a great inspiration, inspiring me to be the best I can be, and motivating me to engage more with those around the world passionate about space. The best part though, was reconnecting with my team.

The real work begins now, back in the office, where I have to sustain this inspiration!