ICMSA readies for virtual COSPAR Scientific Assembly

ICMS Australasia’s 35 full-time staff are this week working around the clock in preparation for the now fully virtual 43rd Committee on Space Research Scientific Assembly which begins on Thursday, currently with 2,200 registrations.

The reimagined Assembly will feature more than 2,000 scientific sessions covering all disciplines of space research presented in two three-hourly blocks per day – the morning session for Southern Hemisphere delegates and the evening session for those attending from the Northern Hemisphere.

Secured by BESydney, the legacies of the bi-annual Assembly are being realised with a public event, COSPAR-K, being held live in Sydney later in the year.

COSPAR-K was created to encourage students to study STEM-based subjects to allow them to work in the space sector in the future.

ICMSA managing director Emma Bowyer said COSPAR-2021 has been an incredible challenge for her entire team, not only because of the volume of scientific presentations but because it was now being run entirely virtually.

“We sought and found a tech company Intrado to help us run the on-line event that we felt had the capabilities to deliver the vision of COSPAR and that of the Local Organising Committee,” she said.

“It’s been a steep learning curve for everybody but we’re confident that it will be successful.

“It also demonstrates the importance of meetings – in whatever form they take – to continue discussions and collaborations between scientists and researchers in specific sectors, like the space sector. The space industry is so fast-moving that COSPAR didn’t feel they could delay this important event any longer.”

Chair of COSPAR-2021, and head of Australia’s most experienced space mission team UNSW Canberra Space, Professor Russell Boyce, said COSPAR-2021 brings timely impetus to the awareness, growth and scale of Australia’s diverse space sector.

“It represents an important strategic opportunity to researchers and businesses in Australia’s high technology sector,” he said.

“Australia is rapidly accelerating in the development and application of space technologies to meet a huge range of needs and opportunities on the ground. The innovations that come from space research and bold science-driven space missions, will be critical to the success of that journey.”