Last updated October 5, 2017 at 11:31 am
The International Astronautical Congress shows no signs of slowing down, and delegates are keeping up. In this blog, Lisa runs us through her Day 2.
I was up bright and early this morning to attend the Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) special breakfast event. This was another chance for networking but was also the official launch of the new book ‘Australia in Space’, a comprehensive look at Australia’s space history for the past 50 years. We heard from the author, Kerrie Dougherty, former curator of the space exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, and Australian astronaut Andy Thomas, who wrote the foreword for the book.
But the most important guest was this girl.
Last year, the local organisers of IAC 2017 presented the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) a plush koala as a gift for selecting Adelaide to host the Congress this year. The IAF sent the koala on a secret mission to the International Space Station thanks to NASA and SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.
After she safety returned to Earth, Australia’s third astronaut was given back to the SIAA and will now be permanently displayed in the lobby of Nova Systems, an Adelaide-based defence and space company.
I have no idea what the new Australian Space Agency (which was announced yesterday at IAC 2017) will look like, but it’d be a ripe opportunity for space outreach to create a social media campaign to name this newest Australian explorer. I’d like to offer the name ‘Kerrie’ in honour of Australia’s best space historian.
After breakfast, I headed into the massive exhibition hall. The folks from KARI, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute, were celebrating Korea Day by handing out gifts and sharing their culture. I had a blast dancing to Gangham Style surrounded by elite space professionals.
I had to navigate a maze of conference rooms to make it to the next panel “Disruption of New Starts on the Asia Pacific Space Turf”. This boasted NewSpace hotshots such as Peter Beck of NZ company Rocket Lab, Flavia Tata Nardini of Adelaide-based Fleet, Michael Brett of Qxbranch, Tim Parsons of Sydney’s DeltaV space incubator and Kimberly Clayfield of CSIRO.
One jarring take-way from this panel was that Fleet had recently received over 400 CV’s from keen Aussie professionals, but only 10 of these were from women. Flavia said women make up a large proportion of Fleet’s team now, but obviously the industry and the STEM pipeline has a long way to go.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be heading to another breakfast event – a diversity breakfast focused on getting the first woman on the moon. That’ll be one small step, but a giant leap for humankind.
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.