The International Astronautical Congress and the Space Economy

Illustration of the interior of a planetarium theatre. Credit: SpaceQ/Shutterstock.

The International Astronautical Congress CyberSpace edition begins this Saturday with the NextGen Summit and runs through Wednesday. Highlights include the Heads of Space Agencies plenary event, the State and Response of the Global Space Sector during COVID-19, Unleashing the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML) into Space and much more. As well, there will be a Canadian webinar moderated by myself, and SpaceQ is launching season 4 of our SpaceQ podcast which is being rebranded. Here’s what you need to know.

The International Astronautical Congress CyberSpace Edition will have live online sessions everyday starting as early as 6:45 am EDT on some days.

International Astronautical Congress Head of Agencies Plenary

On Monday at 8:40 am EDT, the Head of Agencies plenary will take place. It’s always a highlight of the Congress. Of note, Lisa Campbell, the new President of the Canadian Space Agency will participate. The other participants are:

  • Jim Bridenstine, NASA
  • Dmitry Rogozin, Director General, ROSCOSMOS
  • K. Sivan, Chairman, ISRO
  • Jan Woerner, Director General, ESA
  • Hiroshi Yamakawa, President, JAXA
  • Kejian Zhang, Administrator, CNSA

Immediately following the plenary will be a press conference for journalists. It’s our understanding that event this will not be broadcast to the public. However, we will cover it. As well, there will be a limited number of journalists questions asked and SpaceQ has been selected to ask a question. If you would like to make a suggestion of what we ask, please email us at

The Space Economy Webinar

SpaceQ was asked to moderate a virtual roundtable of Canadian leaders from the Canada Pavilion at the International Astronautical Congress. It is my pleasure to be the moderator of the panel which will take place Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, between 2:00 – 3:00 pm EDT. Registration is open.

Panelists include:

  • Tim Kopra (retired astronaut), VP of Robotics and Space Operations, MDA
  • Richard McCammon, President, C6 Launch Systems
  • Michael Graham, CEO, Space Simulation Services of Canada Corporation

The focus will be on the space economy in 2021 through 2030. Questions and topics of interest may include:

  • 2020 will be remembered for the COVID-19 pandemic, is this only a bump in the road for the space sector?
  • In looking at the space economy, and in particular the LEO economy, what are some of the new opportunities and challenges?
  • The coming decade of space exploration looks to be incredibly exciting. The search for exoplanets and exomoons, and the pace of discovery is accelerating. We’re going back to the Moon, hopefully to stay. Can we build a sustainable lunar economy? And what wonders will new telescopes like James Webb Space Telescope bring?

You can submit questions ahead of time by emailing them to with the title Webinar Questions.

The Space Economy Podcast by SpaceQ

We’re excited to announce that for season 4 of the SpaceQ podcast we are rebranding as The Space Economy by SpaceQ. Each episode will focus on some aspect of the space economy. As well, the podcast is moving from being published on Thursday to Monday. For October we’re continuing to publish every second week, but come November, we’ll be back to a weekly schedule. We’re also trimming the podcast to about a 30 minutes for each episode.

Our first next Monday is NASA’s Chief Economist, Alex MacDonald. We’ll also have more news next week. Tune in!

International Astronautical Congress CyberSpace Schedule highlights

Along with the Plenaries, Highlight Lectures, Special Sessions, and IAF Global Networking sessions, there will be the usual technical sessions and symposium keynotes.


Heads of Space Agencies
Monday 12 October • Time: 14:40-15:30 CEST (8:40 am EDT)

Small and Medium Sized Companies – Strategies for Survival and Recovery in the Age of COVID-19?
Tuesday 13 October • Time: 14:50 – 15:30 CEST (8:50 am EDT)

Early 2020s – Launch of Worldwide Missions to Mars
Wednesday 14 October • Time: 14:50 – 15:30 CEST (8:50 am EDT)


The Chang’e 4 Mission
Monday 12 October • Time: 17:30 – 18:00 CEST (11:30 am EDT)

MEV 1: The World’s First Commercial On-Orbit Servicing Mission
Tuesday 13 October • Time: 17:50 – 18:20 CEST (11:50 am EDT)


State and Response of the Global Space Sector during COVID-19
Monday 12 October • Time: 16:00-16:40 (10:00 am EDT)

Unleashing the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML) into Space
Wednesday 14 October • Time: 14:00 – 14:40 (8:00 am EDT)


DLR Panel: Science for Future – Earth Observation Technologies in the Age of Climate Change
Monday 12 October • Time: 16:40-17:20 CEST (10:40 am EDT)

ISS Commercialization and Future Industry Innovation in Low Earth Orbit
Day: Tuesday 13 October • Time: 14:00 – 14:40 CEST (8:00 am EDT)

The Artemis Mission
Tuesday 13 October • Time: 15:40 – 16:20 CEST (9:40 am EDT)

Orion, The Foundation for Crewed Exploration of Deep Space
Tuesday 13 October • Time: 16:20 – 17:00 CEST (10:20 am EDT)

IAF/ASE Astronauts Panel
Wednesday 14 October • Time: 15:40-16:20 CEST (9:40 am EDT)

Europe on and around the Moon and Mars: A discussion between ESA and NASA leaders with European young professionals on Europe’s space exploration contributions and ambitions
Wednesday 14 October • Time: 16:30 – 17:10 CEST (10:30 am EDT)

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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