Last updated September 25, 2017 at 12:10 pm
IAC2017 has barely started, but space nerds are already in the thick of things!
I’ve arrived fresh into Adelaide ready for a week-long immersion in everything space! Today is day zero – preparation to survive the onslaught of lectures, networking and learning.
The International Astronautical Congress is being held at the Adelaide Convention Centre, so I headed over to scope out the venue and register. I received my name badge, complete with Blue Origin-branded lanyard (and if you haven’t heard of Blue Origin, where have you been?! Go check them out).
I jumped in an Uber and headed over to The Science Exchange for the event ‘Australia to Space: How to launch your career’. This networking event/panel was designed to give young Aussies the tips and tricks needed to make a career in the space industry from those who’ve found success. Panellists included Andrea Boyd, mission controller for the International Space Station, Dr Sydney Do, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the brothers behind what might be Australia’s next big rocket company, Gilmour Space Technologies.
— Aust Science Channel (@RiAus) September 24, 2017
There were a bunch of information gems that came out of this panel. For Aussies wishing to pursue space careers in Europe, your best bet might be to study a Master’s degree. You can also do a little family stalking to see if you’ve got the right ancestry for dual-citizenship (or just run for Australian parliament…)
For those looking to the US right now, you’d want to have a good understanding of the US immigration system and the various visa options available to Australians. There was talk of the dreaded ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) that prohibit non-residents from working on a bunch of space technology, but the panel expressed hope – lots of new tech, like cubesats, are no longer ITAR-restricted. Companies like Planet and OneWeb are a lot more accepting when it comes to hiring foreigners, as long as you have the right skillset.
Finally, we heard from Adam and James Gilmour. They’ve turned a Queensland strawberry farm into a launch pad and shown that Aussie’s can make a space career on home soil, too.
After a cheeky Nandos, I swung back over to the Convention Centre for the first of many networking events for young professionals. While I spent most of the night catching up with alumni from the International Space University’s program that runs right here in Adelaide every year, I did get a little distracted. By Bill Nye. Bill’s here to share his LightSail2 project but in reality I think he’ll spend more time teaching people how to take a proper selfie.
I also met Dr Marc Jurblum, a space doctor from Melbourne, and Duncan Forgan, a scientist working at SETI who’s designing a new scale for tempering our excitement when we think we’ve detected a signal from aliens. Because it’s never really aliens… until it is.
This is only day zero. Bring on the rest of #IAC2017!
Follow all the IAC 2017 coverage, including news and articles in the lead up to this astronautical event, and daily live videos during the Congress at australiascience.tv/iac-2017.