Dubai to host world’s largest space conference in October

UAE will become the first Arab country to host the International Astronautical Congress

Dubai is preparing to host the International Astronautical Congress in October, the world’s largest space conference that has taken place in dozens of cities annually since 1950.

This year will be the first time an Arab country hosts the congress, an indication of the UAE’s progress and achievements in space exploration.

The 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is scheduled to take place at the World Trade Centre from October 25 to October 29.

“Having the UAE host the IAC after just a decade of space activity is a matter of pride, and an attestation of our commitment to keeping up with the latest technological developments and innovations,” said Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai.

IAC will involve heads of space agencies, leaders, policy and decision makers, astronauts, scientists, engineers, researchers, students and young professionals.

The congress will feature themed plenary events, keynote lectures, discussions, workshops, a networking forum and a space science exhibition.

“The congress will accelerate the growth of the space sector in the region and will also act as a knowledge enrichment platform for the youth in the fields of space science and technology,” said Salem Al Marri, the assistant director-general for scientific and technical affairs at the space centre.

The UAE's space programme is leading the way in the Arab world. The Hope probe is in orbit around Mars and an Emirati astronaut has gone into space.

The UAE is building the Arab world’s first lunar rover and has it recruited the first Arab female astronaut.

Pascale Ehrenfreund, president of the International Astronautical Federation, the entity that oversees the congress, said it was delighted to host the 72nd event in an Arab country.

“We look forward to sharing ideas and networking with like-minded people and peers from the region and the world. We remain committed to the exchange of knowledge and expertise to find solutions in matters relating to space and humanity,” he said.

In 2017, the UAE had won the bid to host the IAC 2020. As a result of coronavirus safety restrictions, the event last year took place online.

The 2019 event was hosted in Washington.

To attend the IAC in Dubai, registrations can be made online.

It will be a busy time in the UAE this year, as Dubai also prepares to host much-anticipated World Expo, scheduled to begin on October 1.

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