It is a serious setback for the Emirates as the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has been taking over the logistics of its organisation since September 2017

Coronavirus torpedoes October's International Astronautical Congress in Dubai

PHOTO/IAF - The official signature of the contract to hold the 71st International Astronautical Congress in Dubai was signed in Washington at the end of October 2019

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which is spreading virulently throughout the world, has paralyzed the 71st International Astronautics Congress (IAC), a major event scheduled to take place from 12 to 16 October in the city of Dubai, in the emirate of the same name in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The nearly two million people infected and the more than 110,000 deaths worldwide caused by COVID-19 to date - according to data from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, which monitors the evolution of the disease - have advised the Congress organizers, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), "not to hold the Congress in Dubai this year and to delay it". The new dates have not yet been set, but will be announced "in the coming weeks", as detailed in a statement from the IAF dated April 11.

The fact of postponing the Congress in Dubai has repercussions on the astronautical congresses already arranged for the following years, which will require rethinking the agreed dates. The 72nd edition, corresponding to the year 2021, is scheduled in Paris for the end of September and the 73rd edition for October 2022 in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The Dubai event will have to be fitted in from January 2021 and it is not easy.

Un acuerdo preliminar se había firmado el 11 de febrero de 2019 entre el entonces presidente de la IAF, el francés Jean-Yves Le Gall y Yusuf Hamad al-Shaibani, director general del Centro Espacial Mohammed bin Rashid

The first International Astronautical Congress to be held in an Arab nation, the organization of the 71st edition of the IAC was already at a very advanced stage. Under the slogan 'Inspire, innovate and discover for the benefit of humanity', the local committee is chaired by the Deputy Director General for Scientific and Technical Affairs of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, Salem al-Marri, who has made a commitment to the IAF to ensure the success of the event in terms of its logistical quality and number of attendees.

The local organizing team, led by Al-Marri, has reinforced the Congress with a large exhibition related to discoveries and high technology, as well as a specific program of activities aimed at students and young people to encourage their interest in industry and space science.

El vicepresidente de Estados Unidos, Mike Pence, fue el encargado de abrir la sesión inaugural del 70 Congreso Internacional de Astronáutica de Washington en octubre de 2019

The fact that a city in the Emirates is hosting the IAC for the first time highlights the importance the country attaches to the space sector and "demonstrates the authorities' efforts towards a knowledge-based economy, especially in the field of space," says Yusuf Hamad al-Shaibani, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

A lo largo de los cinco días tienen lugar más de 50 conferencias magistrales y paneles de expertos con la presencia de altos funcionarios de gobiernos, académicos, científicos, ingenieros, juristas y especialistas de los diversos campos de la astronáutica
The largest and most important forum in the space world

UAE officials do not yet know whether the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus will also delay the summer launch of the Japanese rocket that is to place the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) probe around the Red Planet, the space mission that would make the Emirates the seventh nation worldwide to place a space probe in Mars orbit.

The Dubai Forum will also serve to encourage new countries in the Arab world to enter the space scene and those already in the field to accelerate the implementation of new projects for the benefit of their respective societies.

The International Astronautical Congress is the largest and most important forum for dialogue and the exchange of initiatives held annually by the space community, which also includes the members of the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law.

El comité organizador local de Dubái está presidido por el director general adjunto para Asuntos Científicos y Técnicos del Centro Espacial Mohammed bin Rashid, Salem al-Marri

Together, it brings together each year some 7,000 delegates from more than 80 countries, including the heads of space agencies around the world, senior managers of launch service companies and manufacturers of spacecraft, satellites and launchers.

At the venue chosen to host each edition of the IAC, more than 2,000 oral and interactive presentations, nearly 200 individual and joint technical sessions, and around 50 keynote speeches and expert panels involving senior government officials, academics, scientists, engineers, legal experts and specialists in various fields of astronautics are held over the five days of the Congress.

In its many sessions, the sector's situation is reviewed, new initiatives are presented, strategic partnerships are agreed upon, experiences are shared and common points are sought to encourage international cooperation and the improvement of the many activities related to access to space.

Se celebrará en el Centro Internacional de Convenciones y Exposiciones de Dubái, que alberga las oficinas comerciales de la Torre Sheikh Rashid y la Torre de la Convención
More than three years of preparation

Dubai was chosen as the host city for the 71st International Astronautical Congress in September 2017, during the 68th Congress held in Adelaide (Australia).

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Governor of Dubai, the pre-agreement was signed on 11 February 2019 by the then President of the IAF, France's Jean-Yves Le Gall - President of the French National Centre for Space Studies - and Yusuf Hamad al-Shaibani, Director General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. The official agreement was signed in Washington last October on the occasion of the 70th IAC.

The International Astronautical Congress has been held in Spain on four occasions, the most recent being in Valencia, from 2 to 6 October 2006 (57th IAC).

Paralelo al Congreso tendrá lugar una gran exposición relacionada con los descubrimientos y la alta tecnología, así como con un programa específico de actividades orientado a estudiantes y jóvenes para fomentar su interés por la industria y la ciencia espacial

The first was in Barcelona, in 1957 (8th IAC) and was inaugurated on October 6th, two days after the first artificial satellite, the Soviet Sputnik 1, was put into orbit, attracting the attention of the world's population. The next was in Madrid in 1966 (17th IAC) and much later in Malaga in 1989 (40th IAC).