The ISS Symposium 2012 was held in Berlin, Germany from May 2-4, 2012. Under the theme 'Research In Space for the Benefit Mankind' the event brought together the leading partners responsible for putting the International Space Station into orbit, astronauts and cosmonauts, the many research scientists involved in the project and the large number of technology, business and education providers associated with the ISS. This major event truly reflected on the ISS planning, operations, discovery and future objectives of the now completed ISS. The presentors spoke about the successes of the project, lessons learned in space and explained how, what and why about the ISS. The discussions also focused on the future potential of this space station and provided many examples for how how business and education objectives can be met and achieved.
The International Space Station represents one of mankind's finest achievements. It was not until last year the the space station was considered to be fully built and operational from a research perspective. As moderator Uli Bobinger said during the opening remarks, "the ISS has travelled more than 3.5 billion kilometers since beginning in 1998.
Value and the International Space Station
Director General of the European Space Agency, Jean Jacques Dordain then welcomed guests. "Now is the time for us to begin sharing the benefits of ISS, " he said.
He spoke about the manay benefits that the ISS partnership including United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia have shared over the years. "We have made an irreversible step with ISS " Dordain said, referring to the fact that the space station exists, is producing results and has demonstrated that the partnership can achieve such goals - which will likely lead to other possibilities.
As the Mars Mission is about to begin, Dordain mentioned that "now is the right time" to be talking about the successes of ISS, but also because it is important to set the tone and note that the ISS is a stepping-stone into the future of space and humankind.
The lessons learned from ISS are not small, they include technical, psychological, financial, business and a host of other kinds of knowledge gained from space that will enable the next steps to venture further afar.
Indeed, in a humorous moment Dordain mentioned that famed scientist Werner von Braun said, "space solves two problems - gravity and bureaucracy." It is noteworthy as he mentioned that we not only move from earth to space, but also back again - bringing the benefits of space home. There are 750 jobs directly created by ISS across 3 continents.
Origin of ISS
The beginnings of ISS may not be as easily identifiable to many, however, as JD Worner, CEO of the German Space Agency (DLR) said, "the origins of ISS can be found in the 1975 Soyuz-Apollo missions which were the big step." He spoke about the need for involving more industry now as the tools and technologies for supporting a broad range of research are now in space and available for use, something he hoped would be capitalized upon before 2020. A key point he made was, "there is a different between space in space for space, and in space for for earth," signalling that whatever steps are taken in space, they are ultimately applied to earth.
Many rountable discussions were held during the event. The first included a discussion with member agencies. T. Iwasa of Japan's Office for Space Utilisation and Promotion, M. Uhran - Director of the NASA ISS Program Office in the United States, A. Krasnov - Director, Human Space Flight Programs for Russia's Roscosmos, G. Leclerc - Director of the Canadian Space Agency and J.J. Dordain - Director of ESA were all present.
As Mr. Iwasa pointed to the many benefits of the ISS, he mentioned that "now we can solve issues" and that the possibilities for other participation is possible with an emphasis on gaining new knowledge.
Mr. Uhran of NASA said, "real question is only a matter of time, benefits today will enable the next steps in space and the future." Mr. Krasanov of Roscosmos underlined the fact that the partners needed to learn how to participate and work together.
"We think we have learned it all sometimes, but we have not." Meanwhile, Mr. LeClerc from Canada said that that country is experiencing many benefits in life sciences and robotics that are directly attributed to the ISS.
Mr. Dordain indicated that a lot of work is oriented toward life sciences in the ISS and that ESA also runs a parallel program for earth observation. He also suggested that a need exists to expand the program to include other new partners.
A key point that many of the presentors made during the two days of presentations was that long term programs needed reassurance since younger scientists would not necessarily pursue these careers or research without a good chance that they would exist into the future.
Accordingly, the ISS progran needs to develop a mechanism and opportunities for expanding partnerships, thus it's own longevity into the future. With nearly 1300 research projects taking place on board the ISS, it is not hard to imagine that the future of this valuable space station will not be realised.
For additional Eurospatial Coomunications blog content of the ISS Berlin Event:
ISS Symposium 2012 Berlin: Director General Dordain Opens
ISS Symposium 2012 Berlin: DLR Director Invites The World To Be Curious
ISS Symposium 2012 Berlin: German Minister Rosler Explains Value Of Space
ISS Symposium Berlin 2012: ISS As A Geospatial Platform
ISS Symposium Berlin 2012: NASA Chief Scientist & ISS Program Director On Why ISS Matters
Other produced content: