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Once a year the global space community, its major players, its leaders, its decision makers, come together in an iconic meeting of minds, to work towards the advancement, the betterment of all humankind.

High-level stakeholders from space agencies and institutions around the world come together under one roof to exchange information and ideas, to share developments and advances, to swap insights, strategies and rising trends.

The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is the world’s premier space event. It is a one-of-a-kind assemblage, unmatched in scale and in scope, unequalled in its reach and its attendance, and in 2020, in a first for the country and a first for the entire region, it will be held in the UAE.

As official host of the 71st International Astronautical Congress — the IAC 2020 — the UAE will become the first-ever Arab country to host this annual, high profile gathering of the international space industry. Dubai will become the first city in the region to host the event in its seventy-year history.

We at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) are committed to making this event a resounding success. And we would like to invite you to be a part of this historic moment, to be a part of the UAE’s legacy.




• It is part of our nature as human beings that we want to explore and try to better understand the world in which we live. Space exploration is the logical extension of that need.

• Through the exploration of the solar system, we can begin to unravel the mysteries of our universe, and to better understand our place in the cosmos.

• Space exploration provides us with knowledge about the origins of our solar system, our own planet Earth, and about human origins, and helps to answer questions that have intrigued humankind throughout the centuries.

• Solar system exploration is important because it provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to make advancements in science and technology which can be a benefit to all of humankind, such as in the areas of communications and remote sensing.

• Space technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Cellular technology, for example, is dependent on satellite communications, Satellites are also used to monitor changes in Earth's climate and ocean circulation, for weather forecasting, in aviation and marine navigation, and for military reconnaissance.

• The space program provides an opportunity for nations to work together in international cooperation through participation in joint missions, thereby promoting peace and understanding between governments and their people.

• Many governments are currently involved in the development of space technology including USA, Russia, Japan, the European nations, China, and India. In the near future, other nations will be added to this list.




Mars has always been a source of inspiration for explorers and scientists. Robotic missions have found evidence of water, but if life exists beyond Earth still remains a mystery. Robotic and scientific robotic missions have shown that Mars has characteristics and a history similar to Earth's, but we know that there are striking differences that we have yet to begin to understand. Humans can build upon this knowledge and look for signs of life and investigate Mars' geological evolution, resulting in research and methods that could be applied here on Earth.

A mission to our nearest planetary neighbor provides the best opportunity to demonstrate that humans can live for extended, even permanent, stays beyond low Earth orbit. The technology and space systems required to transport and sustain explorers will drive innovation and encourage creative ways to address challenges. As previous space endeavors have demonstrated, the resulting ingenuity and technologies will have long lasting benefits and applications.

The challenge of traveling to Mars and learning how to live there will encourage nations around the world to work together to achieve such an ambitious undertaking. The International Space station has shown that opportunities for collaboration will highlight our common interests and provide a global sense of community.


Onja Ravelonjato

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