Hyderabad: The 58th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) to be held in this city coming September may attract a very high profile participant this time around. If all goes well for the organizers, American astronaut of Indian parentage, Sunita Williams, may be a likely participant.
The Congress is meant for global participants to interact with Indian scientists regarding advances in space exploration, and is the largest and most authoritative forum for the global space community.
The meet which is themed 'Touching humanity: space for improving quality of life,' is scheduled to be held from Sep 24 - 28. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Astronautical Society of India (ASI) will host the Congress in conjunction with global organizations and provide an opportunity for the scientific fraternity to showcase their work.
According to National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) director, K Radhakrishnan, they are awaiting confirmation from Williams regarding her participation.
Meanwhile, the heavy weights from the field of space sciences likely to attend include NASA administrator Michael Griffin, along with heads of 24 space agencies, scientists, policy makers, regulators, global industry professionals from aerospace and allied industries.
This will be the second occasion when India will be hosting the prestigious event after 1988, when it hosted the 39th IAC at Bangalore.
Coinciding with the IAC-2007, an international space exhibition will also be held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC).
Around 2,500 space professionals and students engaged in space activities from across the world will participate in the event and 200 global organisations will take part in the exhibition. The event is expected to attract over 10,000 business visitors.
"The entire event is developed as a strong business platform through the international exhibition, business conclave, business-to-business (B2B) meetings and an Industry Day," Radhakrishnan said.
"IAC-2007 has special significance because this is the 50th year of the launch of Sputnik signifying the beginning of space age, the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical Year and also the 40th year of the United Nations Outer Space Treaty. To commemorate these events, special care has been taken to present appropriate plenary events, highlight lectures and technical sessions befitting the occasion," he said.
Added KR Sridhara Murthi, executive director of Antrix Corporation: "We are expecting a large participation in the exhibition from the US, Europe and Asia. It is a great opportunity for Indian companies to leverage this platform by participating in the Congress and international exhibition. This event should pave the way for more international tie-ups and businesses."