Looking beyond boundaries: Inspire, Innovate and Discover for the benefit of the Humankind

Eurisy contribution to the 72nd International Astronautical Congress, the biggest global space conference

It’s again that time of the year: it’s the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) time, the biggest space forum where global actors come together to learn about the most recent trends and developments in the space sector. Organised since the 1950s by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) jointly with local partners, IAC takes place in a different country every year with a different theme to learn more about space and to allow the regional space sector to become part of the global one.

The 72nd International Astronautical Congress took place, for the first time in its history, in the Arab region, in the setting of Dubai. During the 5-day conference, 5000 delegates from 110 countries gathered under the theme “Inspire, Innovate and Discover for the Benefit of Humankind”. On the occasion of the Public Day, an open day event for space enthusiasts and the general audience, around 1500 visitors among which students and professional from other sectors, visited the IAC exhibition.

Climate Change and space sustainability were key topics of the many sessions and papers presented during the congress. Young professionals and students from all over the world presented their ideas to space professionals demonstrating the interest and commitment of the next generation on this hot topic and how space technology can be the enabler for a change to a cleaner and resilient society.

IAC also brings inspiration and a glimpse into future endeavours. For the first time, nine crew members of the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 60/61 gathered to share their experience and knowledge with a wider audience. The panel saw the contribution of NASA astronauts and ROSCOSMOS cosmonauts, together with the UAE astronaut Hazzaa Al Mansoori, the first UAE astronaut to the ISS. Also, Chris Boshuizen, illustrated his experience of training and flying on the Blue Origin’s New Shepard’s second human flight.

IAC2021 was a record event, also for Eurisy, because for the first time it was one of the exhibiting organisations of the event.

The Eurisy booth was the gateway to learn more about the mission and objectives of the organisation and to talk about the relevance of satellite-based solutions for those economic sectors that are not traditionally related to space. What’s more, at the booth Eurisy unveiled the Space Service Hub (SSH). The project, sponsored by ESA and IAF led to the development of a 3D permanent platform embedded in the Eurisy website as well as a virtual reality software showcasing how satellite-based solutions are currently tackling big societal challenges. It aims at engaging potential partners, customers, investors in a friendly way, overcoming the technical barriers that limit the uptake of the satellite applications and that shadow the benefits related to their use. The booth was a gateway for stakeholders to discuss and exchange with the team on future cooperation and joint initiatives. Throughout the week around 50+ visitors had the opportunity to experience the VR tool and to share with us their reactions.

The SSH represents an innovative outreach tool that addresses some among the major setbacks identified by end users by relying on an immersive virtual reality experience and a 3D web platform. The user can discover different areas of our planet, moving with one single touch from a coastal area to a rural, or in an urban environment to discover peculiar challenges and how satellite data are powering solutions to overcome them.

In Dubai, Eurisy also participated to the awarding ceremony of the Global Space Market Challenge (GSMC), a new competition launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) with Eurisy’s operational and technical support held between May 2021 and October 2021. The Challenge’s objective was to give visibility to SMEs with internationalisation ambitions, developing products and/or services for the upstream or downstream space sector showing potential for extra-European and ESA markets. During the 72nd International Astronautical Congress, the winners of the GSMC had the chance to showcase their products and services and to connect with investors. Discover here the Global Space Market Challenge winners. The ceremony took place on October 26th with the presence of ESA Director General, Joseph Aschbacher, and the newly appointed ESA Director of Commercialisation, Industry and Procurement, Geraldine Naja.

Among the 3370 abstract submissions, three Eurisy papers got selected to be presented in three technical sessions. The GIS4Schools project has been introduced to an international audience thanks to the paper “Improving STEAM Education in Secondary Schools through the co-creation of new methodologies for teaching GIS products related to climate impact on local communities”. Co-written with Euronike and the Politecnico di Milano, it illustrates the genesis of the project, and the process leading to the development of training packages for secondary schools’ teachers and pupils. It also focuses on the adoption of new methodology and pedagogic approach to enable the transfer of new knowledge from teachers to pupils. The paper is available for download here.


The paper “Messages to the Above: Looking at Art from the Sky” presented Space4Art, a new initiative that Eurisy is exploring to implement with the support of potential new partners. The paper provides an introduction on how aerial photography and satellite imagery have changed our way of looking at Earth, inspiring art movements and allowing for the discovery and appreciation of ancient and more recent artworks. With the presentation at IAC, Eurisy wants to extend its partner research outside the European borders, after all art and sky have no boundaries. The paper is available here. A full report on Space4Art is available on the Eurisy website.

Eventually, the last paper presented was dedicated to the Space4Maritime initiative. The paper, “Space4Maritime: diving into space-based solutions for the maritime domain” mainly addresses service providers and public authorities, providing them with a set of recommendations on how to foster cooperation with maritime operators. But it also targets potential new end users interested in adopting satellite solutions in their workflow. Three case studies were described to complement and explain further the needs of European maritime end-user communities, facilitating the dialogue with the space industry and the uptake of satellite services. Read the paper here.

The 72nd IAC 2021 has been an exciting opportunity to meet our members and exchange with space professionals from around the globe in person. New initiatives will follow, waiting for IAC 2022 in Paris.