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4 mins read 28 Jan 2021

2024 IAC Bid from Andy Thomas Space Foundation

The Andy Thomas Space Foundation has announced their intention to collaborate on a bid for the 2024 International Astronautical Congress to be held in Australia.

The city of Adelaide. Credit: Adelaide City Council.

Supported by the South Australian Government and the Adelaide Convention Bureau, the Andy Thomas Space Foundation announced their aim to collaborate on a bid for the 2024 International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Previously, the IAC was hosted in Adelaide in 2017, attracting 4470 delegates and resulted in a \$24 million boost to the local economy. 

“The 2017 Congress inspired impressive growth in the Australian space sector, including establishment of the Australian Space Agency, the SmartSat CRC and the Andy Thomas Space Foundation, all headquartered in Adelaide. A congress in 2024 will be a great boost to the goal of the Australian Space Agency to grow the number of jobs in the national space industry to 30,000 by 2030,” says ATSF CEO Nicola Sasanelli AM.

“ [The] strong economic tail of the 2017 Congress is evident from the knowledge transfer, research collaboration and other fruitful partnerships, and attraction of skilled staff to Adelaide and the economic impact of another congress in 2024 will be even greater,” he added. 

The Premier of South Australia also stated his support of this endeavour to hold the IAC in Adelaide. 

“Hosting the prestigious International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide will cement South

Australia as the Space State and create hundreds of jobs in the process, “ Premier Steven Marshall said. “Having more than 4000 leaders of the global space industry right here in Adelaide is simply invaluable.”

Hosting the IAC, as the foremost gathering of space industry organisations, leaders, and participants from around the world, is fiercely contested, and winning a bid to host is an immense challenge. There are six stages to the bidding process, and the process is complex and unpredictable. Rival bids for the 2024 Congress are so far known to be lodged from Milan and Budapest, although it is expected for more to come.

A view of Adelaide from space. Credit: International Space Station/NASA.

The 2024 bid from Australia will be a collaboration between the Andy Thomas Space Foundation (ATSF), the Adelaide Convention Bureau, and the South Australian Government. ATSF chairman Michael Davis AO says that through a combination of factors the opportunity to host the five-day 2024 IAC in Adelaide has arisen. These factors include the success of Adelaide’s previous hosting of the event, Australia’s thriving and expanding space sector, and Adelaide’s low-density lifestyle. 

The ATSF was launched in November 2020, established to provide an Australian focus for all aspects of space education, business and innovation. The Foundation is named after Australian-born NASA astronaut Andy Thomas, who has flown four space shuttle missions, including completing a six-and-a-half hour space walk. He also spent over 177 days in long-duration space occupation aboard the MIR Space Station, the first long-term research station in orbit. One of the primary goals of the ATSF is the development of space education, via prioritisation of STEM subjects, raising space awareness, and contributing to the international space community through events and educational initiatives. 

“When the Foundation was formed last year,” Mr Davis says, “one of its specific goals was to promote national education and outreach programs, and to conduct major space-related forums. The IAC fits that brief perfectly, and we’re delighted to partner with the [Australian Convention Bureau] in a bid to bring the Congress back to Adelaide, where it enjoyed resounding success.”

“The 2017 event was won against intense competition from Washington, Bremen and Istanbul and this time we face Milan, Budapest and other global cities. Adelaide has the advantage of not only being the first to announce its intent, but of being the nation’s Space epicentre,” said Premier Marshall. 

The successful bidder for the 2024 Congress will be announced at the 2021 IAC in Dubai in late October.