From the 21st to 25th of October we have had the pleasure of attending the 70th International Astronautical Congress in Washington D.C.
The slogan of IAC2019 was: Space, The Power of the Past, the Promise of the Future. ATG was echoing this motto by showcasing our well established engineering capabilities from Thermal to Mechanical Engineering Services to our Visualization & Animation Solutions as well our innovative, forward looking Composite Structure and AR/VR engineering solutions dedicated for space applications.
The conference was attended by space agencies who were voicing ongoing and future plans and initiatives about lunar explorations. Collaboration on NASA’s Artemis program was a major topic where both Japan and Canada signaled their plans of participation. ESA has expressed interest with regards to lunar exploration programs and the Russian government representative has also addressed the topic by saying that the Russian government is still discussing how Russia will participate to the lunar exploration initiatives.
The Gateway and Orion program was also addressed as one of the main international collaboration program. Orion (also name of the spacecraft) is the taxi that bring astronauts to the Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway (LOP-G) orbiting the moon and intended to serve as a solar-powered communications hub, science laboratory, short-term habitation module, and holding area for rovers and other robots.
Once on the Gateway, astronauts will find docked the Lunar lander that will take them to the Moon surface; from there the ascent module of the lander will be used to fly back to the Gateway. The Orion spacecraft will be used for the trip back to Earth; just before re-entering the atmosphere Orion will separate into the Crew Module and the European Service Module, the former safely ferrying astronauts home, the latter burning in the atmosphere.
Such large initiative is conducted by many stakeholders and as NASA’s Administrator, Bridenstine said during the Congress: “the Gateway is international in nature”. Japan has expressed interest in providing logistical services with the country’s next-generation HTV-X cargo freight which could potentially also carry cargo in terms of habitation modules to the Gateway. The European Space Agency is seeking further support from its member states to the continued participation of the International Space Station as well as further constructions of ESM’s (European Service Module) to NASA’s crew module in the Orion program. ESA’s future plans detailed plans to supply development and components to the Gateway as well as as well as given approval of funding ESA’s ESPRIT, Communications module and connecting module, as a major contribution to the Gateway.
Of course many more interesting projects and initiatives were discussed and we were happy to participate to this exciting and interesting congress, meeting world leaders when it comes to space initiatives and we hope to contribute to future and current plans with ATG Europe’s capabilities.
We are also very excited and proud of the interest shown towards our technology, services and systems and we hope to see you at IAC 2020 in Dubai!