The heads of world's leading space organizations outlined their enormous ambitions for the future

At a major convention in Paris, the heads of the world's leading space organizations outlined their enormous ambitions for the future years, while emphasizing the significant concerns that might harm space and mankind. NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) spoke on September 18 at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2022 in Paris.


The first significant mission milestone has already been discussed. "This weekend, at 15,000 miles an hour, a spacecraft is going to ram a small asteroid that revolves around a larger asteroid," NASA administrator Bill Nelson said of the approaching DART mission impact. "We're going to see if we can, just a little bit, move that trajectory so that, as we look out there and try to find the killer asteroids that will threaten the Earth … that we could get it far enough away so that by the time it gets to Earth it would miss us."


This year's Heads of Agencies were noted for two conspicuous absences. According to organizers, the China National Space Administration's (CNSA) deputy administrator Wu Yanhua stepped out of the panel owing to a scheduling difficulty. The country's lunar ambitions will be updated later in the five-day conference.


Russia is not represented at IAC as a result of the continuing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February. According to the Russian news agency TASS, its delegates were issued visas. While most of the globe has condemned the invasion, Nelson emphasized that space cooperation between the United States and Russia is still ongoing. Both are International Space Station (ISS) partners.


Nelson stated that, despite the political difficulties on Earth, the professional connection is still evident in the civilian space sector.

The current economic and geopolitical climate, according to ESA's Josef Aschbacher, creates an atmosphere for the forthcoming ESA ministerial conference, at which he will request more than 18 billion euros ($18 billion USD) from its member states, a roughly 25% increase in financing. The launch of the Jupiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) in the second quarter of 2023 is one of ESA's major missions in the near future, as is the maiden launch of Ariane 6, also scheduled next year. ESA is also seeking a few of the 23,000 applications to be its next astronauts.


Lisa Campbell of the CSA also mentioned obstacles, such as the fact that Canada has 7,500 wildfires each year, which destroy over 2.5 million hectares of forest.


In response, Campbell stated, "we're developing the WildFireSat mission to increase our ability to monitor wildfires." By merging a wide spectrum of AI computers, space technology is rapidly progressing, implying that we can produce endless answers to many of the difficulties we encounter.


In terms of big missions, Campbell stated that Canada is working on Canadarm3 as part of the Lunar Gateway project and that the nation would send an astronaut on the Artemis 2 crewed lunar flyby mission, with the astronaut being chosen in the coming months. She also stated that the CSA would announce the winning proposal for a lunar south pole rover for a 2026 mission in the coming weeks.


Hiroshi Yamakawa of JAXA stated that Japan is working on a variety of exploration projects, including the MMX sample return mission to Mars' moon Phobos and a human-driven, pressurized lunar rover. JAXA and its industrial partners are also nearing completion of the new H3 rocket's test flight, with a launch scheduled for before the end of the Japanese fiscal year, which ends in March 2023. ISRO Chairman S. Somanath spoke about his organization's ambitions to carry people into orbit, saying that the human-rated rocket is ready, but the construction of the Gaganyaan crew capsule and its escape mechanism is proving more difficult.


According to S. Somnath, India is experiencing a significant surge in space startups, including numerous businesses developing tiny satellites in India, and ISRO is pleased to assist and promote the work of these commercial firms.


The IAC in Paris is the 73rd edition of the annual congress, which brings together space agencies, astronauts, scientists, researchers, industry, and the press. This year's edition, running with the theme "Space for @ll," has attracted a record 8,700 registrants from 130 countries, International Astronautical Federation president Pascale Ehrenfreund said in an opening ceremony speech.

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