A meeting this week is being used by an international organization of elected leaders to raise awareness about the value of space among many other politicians. The 11th International Meeting for Members of Parliaments, which is taking place this week as part of the International Astronautical Federation’s 72nd International Astronautical Congress, drew roughly 40 people from 15 nations.
This was the 11th meeting of its kind, but it had a different format this year. During a press briefing about the meeting on October 24, Dominique Tilmans, who works as an IAF vice president and ex-member of Belgian Senate, remarked, “In the past, it was lectured from big enterprises or space agencies.” “We decided to change the format of the meeting by having parliamentarians give presentations on space applications.”
She explained that the new focus was meant to encourage students to think more regarding the advantages of space. “Our goal is to spark the curiosity of more and more legislators in the space industry,” she explained. “We want to make space comprehensible and accessible to everyone.”
The meeting comprised sessions on the usage of space for health, mobility, as well as public services, with attendees presenting presentations on how their countries use space. “Some parliamentarians were not particularly interested in space before coming to the meeting,” Tilmans added. “What we witnessed was enthusiasm: they understood how powerful and fascinating space is.” As a result, they develop a strong interest in space.”
Some of the attendees, including one who had traveled in space, were already intrigued by space. “We need to look at the problem from the standpoint of space applications or solutions,” said Marcos Pontes, who is currently Brazil’s minister of science, technology, and innovation, who went to the ISS (International Space Station) in the year 2006. “We can collaborate to see how we can make use of the infrastructure that we have or that other countries have.”
Best practices for space applications in numerous industries were discussed during the meetings. However, it did not go into detail regarding legal and regulatory challenges, such as orbital debris, which is becoming a significant threat to the capacity to supply those space applications.
“There are several things to talk about,” Tilmans added, “and this is our maiden meeting in this new iteration.” “This time, we chose to talk about practical alternatives, such as space solutions.” It might be a subject for future discussions, according to Pontes. “Space debris is a critical issue,” he stated. “This is one of our main worries regarding space law and how we can cooperate together as nations to develop legislation that is successful.”