IAC 2023: Connecting All Space People at the Most Diverse IAC in History

The 74th International Astronautical Congress, organised by the IAF and hosted in the vibrant city of Baku by Azercosmos, the Space Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was a resounding success. After 50 years, the IAC returned to Baku, where it first hosted the 24th International Astronautical Congress in 1973. During the opening ceremony, Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, warmly welcomed the IAC delegates.

IAF President Clay Mowry also spoke at the opening ceremony and reminded the delegates about the historic importance of the Federation in bringing together the whole space community, especially in challenging geopolitical times. The historian, philosopher and best-selling author Yuval Noah Harari also appeared at the opening ceremony to share a cautious message about Artificial Intelligence, “when dealing with a technology that can annihilate us, we cannot afford to make a mistake”.

Under the theme “Global Challenges and Opportunities: Give Space a Chance”, the focus during this IAC has been on sustainability, security, and international collaboration. More than 5400 delegates from 132 countries gathered in Baku for the world’s largest space congress, making it the most diverse IAC ever held. 

Additionally, 50,000 people joined the IAC from all over the globe thanks to the free live streaming of several sessions. Over 1200 organisations were represented at the IAC, including 150 exhibitors and 30 sponsors. The programme consisted of over 46 Plenary, GNF and Special Sessions, and more than 2400 technical papers were presented during the week.

The IAF General Assembly, at its plenary session, selected the Turkish Space Agency (TUA) to host IAC 2026 in Antalya, Türkiye. The IAF also welcomed 55 new Member organisations, bringing the overall membership to 513 from 77 countries.

The IAF International Astronauts Chapter brought together 17 International Astronauts covering space flights from 1969 to 2023. The astronauts engaged with over 3600 local people, including school children, students, and inclusive communities. On Thursday, 5 October, the IAF World Space Award Winner, Elon Musk, connected virtually to the IAC for an exciting talk with the IAF President on his plans for the Starship project. When asked, he said we could host an IAC in outer space within the next ten years. 

However, IAC 2024 will be hosted by AIDAA, ASI and Leonardo in Milan, Italy.