Last September, PolyOrbite participated in the 67th International Astronomical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara Mexico. The IAC regroups all the actors of the space industry and is held in a different country each year. The congress in divided into two categories of events: the technical sessions and the associated events.
It’s during the technical sessions, and more precisely within the “New Missions Enabled by New Propulsion Technology and Systems” category, that PolyOrbite presented an article on our ion thruster: “Manufacturing Compact Electrospray Thrusters to Deorbit a Nanosatellite”.
The associated events were large assemblies where industry leaders showcase their technological advancements and future projects.
This year, all eyes were on Mars. A few examples are NASA’s presentation on the objectives for their Space Launch System and the European Space Agencies’ moon village concept to replace the International Space Station after 2024. This would facilitate the transition from low earth orbit to Mars.
The most popular event was clearly the long awaited “Mars Plan” announcement by SpaceX CEO Elon musk entitled: “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species”. The event went over the different technologies that will need to be developed to colonize Mars like massive COPV tanks, in-orbit refueling, and rapidly reusable rockets. All this in order to bring the cost of “moving to Mars” under 200 000$ USD.
This year’s AIC included a very large contingency of companies working in the emerging nanosat and CubeSat industries. An Italian company by the name of D-orbit stood out by proposing liquid and solid propulsion systems for CubeSats as well as a CubeSat dispenser capable of delivering up to 27 units of CubeSats.
With the congress now over, we can see two major stories developing in the space industry. Firstly, the race for Mars has officially started and it’s no longer a question of “if we’re going to Mars” but rather “when will we get there”. Secondly, a slow but steady decrease in price for access to space is driving many new companies out of the darkness. Cubesats are on the rise and PolyOrbite is in the middle of it all.
Next year’s IAC will take place in Adelaide, Australia, and PolyOrbite will once again be present at this amazing event to share our work and learn from others.