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IAC 2015 - Day Two

Reflections on the International Astronautical Congress 2015 in Jerusalem - Tuesday

The second day of the IAC congress was held in a peaceful atmosphere, which was only occasionally interfered with bad news about the situation in the city. Due to the occasion there were increased security measures in Jerusalem and its surroundings. However, it did not significantly disrupt the program of the congress, which includes also series of meetings to develop contacts with new potential partners or to deepen relationships with known partners.

Director of the CSO, Jan Kolář, visited the center of Israel's largest producer of space technology, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Extensive facilities are situated near the Tel Aviv airport and essentially contain everything needed to build satellites. „We went through the control center for four Israeli communications satellites Amos and to the area of final assembly and testing of new satellites for Earth observation. Before its finalization an updated version of the radar satellites Tescar with circular antenna of a diameter of almost five meters was designed as well as the two copies of the new generation of optical satellites Eros C, which will be able to distinguish objects smaller than half a meter. Among these satellites we could see basic parts of a small satellite on the mounting table. To develop small satellites is a worldwide trend and we were told by the head of technical development that for a company like IAI, it is worth to pay attention to it," summed his impressions Jan Kolář.

The CSO booth has been visited by several Israeli companies interested in cooperation and the CSO was invited to the International fair ILA in Berlin and to the Space Tech Expo in Bremen. During the welcome cocktail at the booth of Chinese company HEAD Aerospace, Josef Šobra of CSO started an interesting discussion about the possibilities of presentation of Czech workplaces in the newly launched web portal, which is to promote space products and services in the Chinese market. Each company with a focus on the Chinese market can register on the portal and offer their products. The HEAD Aerospace company also looks for the potential customers.

„This portal provides very interesting way to access the Chinese market. The only condition is to enter technical parameters of products and services that will be used by HEAD Aerospace as offer to potential Chinese customers. The web page works in Chinese as well as in English version. The translation of the technical specifications into Chinese is provided by HEAD Aerospace. During the IAC, the registration on this site is free, but it will be probably charged later," added Josef Šobra. Negotiations with Chinese colleagues are going to continue the following day. The subject of the discussion will be e.g. the possibility of launch of scientific instruments on Chinese satellites.

Michal Kuneš of the CSO attended a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), an organization of over 4,000 students and young professionals from more than 100 countries with a focus on space. His mission for this year was to coordinate SGAC competitions and scholarships for the Space Generation Congress, which regularly precedes the Congress IAC. It was also discussed a need for greater emphasis on organizing regional and national activities. Michal Kuneš in this context presented his experience in organizing conferences Czech Space Day and founding the Czech Space Network. 

Michal Kuneš was also a reporter for the technical section focusing on student activities named On Track - Undergraduate Space Education. The section consisted of nine presentations of student university organizations in the United States, the presentation on the development and use of CubeSats at universities in China and Europe and other issues specific to particular countries. The debate confirmed the importance of small satellites, meaning CubesSats as well as satellites weighing tens of kilograms. In the Czech Republic the support of this area lags far behind the world and though it needs to be emphasised constantly," says Michal Kuneš. CubeSats of various designs can be seen in the congress exhibition showcases of many institutions and universities. Even one of them was built by high school students. „Students from the scientific centre of the city of Herzliya describe to visitors with undisguised pride their project of Hoopoe satellite that will be launched next year from the ISS. It is the second satellite of the student team consisting of schools in five Israeli cities. The first of them, Duchifat 1 is in the orbit for over a year and is currently the only operational satellites built in high school," said the director of the CSO.

Michal Václavík and Jan Kolář attended a working dinner with representatives of Astrobotic Technology and its partners. The objective of the technology company from Pittsburgh is to build and tranport a lander and a small rover to the Moon. All this is done in order to succeed in the competition Google Lunar X Prize. Astrobotic still looking for new partners, especially those who are interested in sending scientific instruments to the Moon. „We discussed the situation in the Czech Republic and possibilities of our workplaces with the sales director. We were also informed about the progress of the development of lunar probe and we had a chance to talk with the workplaces already cooperating with Astrobotic. Due to limited time we arranged next meeting at the CSO booth to discuss the details," said Michal Václavík.