Space stars here as Adelaide hosts world’s premier space meeting

25 September

All eyes will be on South Australia and our growing space industry this week with the world’s space heavyweights in Adelaide for the International Astronautical Congress 2017.

The congress will attract more than 3,500 delegates from across the globe, including the heads of all major space agencies, astronauts, scientists and entrepreneurs from 25-29 September, making it the most significant conference Adelaide has ever secured.

South Australian-born astronaut Andy Thomas will deliver a keynote address at a state networking event with guests including international parliamentarians and senior industry representatives.

Space X founder Elon Musk will update delegates on his plans for colonising Mars, while one of the world’s leading science educators, Planetary Society chief executive Bill Nye, will discuss solar-sailing spacecrafts during the event.

Held at the newly-revamped Adelaide Convention Centre, this year’s congress will include lectures and presentations about life on Mars, outer space settlements, new and emerging technologies and space junk retrieval missions.

The South Australian Government, joined by 11 local space start-ups and companies hoping to increase their footprint in the multi-billion-dollar global space industry, will be among the more than 60 exhibitors showcasing innovative technology and ideas at the Congress.

New opportunities for international collaboration in space are already in the pipeline for two SA companies, with local start-up Fleet Space Technologies signing a partnership agreement with French space agency, CNES, on Monday, while Inovor Technologies will sign a collaboration agreement with Italian small satellite builder SITAEL on Wednesday of the congress.

Defence and Space Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said South Australia is leading the way in creating a vibrant space hub, and is perfectly placed to host one of the world’s most prestigious conferences that is estimated to generate more than $25 million for the state’s economy.

“The International Astronautical Congress will put South Australia on a world stage, allowing our innovative start-ups and young entrepreneurs to showcase cutting-edge technology and ideas to space heavyweights and international companies,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.

“The space industry is a huge priority for South Australia, and we look forward to exploring new opportunities for international collaboration, investment and propelling our state further into this global industry during this fantastic event.”

The International Astronautical Congress, hosted by the International Astronautical Federation, has been held every year since 1950 as the world’s largest annual gathering of space professionals. It is only the second time an Australian city has hosted the event, after Melbourne in 1998.

The theme for the congress is ‘Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation and Strengthening Security’, with a strong focus on education, promoting STEM career awareness to over 3000 South Australian school children and 700 teachers.

The event comes as the South Australian Government continues to advocate strongly for a national space agency to grow the country’s share of the global $430 billion industry.