Friday, October 16, 2015

#IAC2015: A family affair. A.k.a. Rafi goes overseas for 1st time!

In several circles within the space industry, we compassionately refer to ourselves as a "Space Family" or in the +International Space University's (ISU) case, the "Space Mafia". My 2015 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) experience in Jerusalem, Israel this year was truly a space family affair. Jen, Rafi and I explored Jerusalem before the IAC and then afterwards my parents toured with us across the desert and into Jordan. The reason my family came to the IAC (besides a spectacular location to visit) was to attend my induction into the +International Astronautical Federation's Young Space Leaders Recognition Programme during the Closing Ceremony. I would like to thank Drs. David Spencer (Penn State), David Klaus (U. Colorado-Boulder), Percy Luney (Space Florida) and Ken Street, Jr. (+NASA Glenn) for nominating me for this prestigious award and to the IAF for selecting me! To learn more about the award and selection criteria, please visit this IAF website. I was the first Canadian and 5th American to win the award. I would also like to thank +Yuri's Night and +Space Florida for their travel support and allowing me to wear two-hats at one event. Representing both entities was extremely advantageous as most people I talked to would ask about one entity and then the conversation would lead to talking about both.

Many people complemented Jen and I for bringing the baby to Israel and the conference, to which I jokingly and proudly replied "If we can't bring a baby to the Promised Land, then we won't be able to send humans to Mars!" The moral of the story is that "We can (and did) bring a baby to Israel, therefore we can send humans to Mars!" The conference was surrounded by local violence, but the international attendees banded harmoniously together to work on our future goals of reaching the cosmos together. Here are a few photo highlights from the 2015 IAC:

Custom hardware. Also, a special YSL/IAF pin was given to us. To learn more about the 2015 winners, please visit this IAF website.

The 2015 YSL Winners... plus Rafi! I took him on stage to share in this moment and I hope that one day he will carry me onto stage for one of his awards. Photo credit: IAFastro Flickr.
Rafi was definitely the star of the IAC! He met people from all over the world. When he wore his lederhosen onesie, the Germans at the Young Professionals social came running over to meet him (they say Lausbub on them). Near the end of the conference, Rafi met +Buzz Aldrin and got his new new book signed. Buzz posted this photo all over his social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, others?). Photo Credit: TheRealBuzz Twitter. During the IAC it was also announced that Buzz would be the next Chancellor of ISU.

IAF Workforce Development - Young Professionals Programme Committee. The real work of the IAC happens before on many telecons and then behind closed doors with awesome people. This committee focuses on the Young Professional content of the IAC, which are usually the best content of the IAC every year (I'm biased). I am also on the IAF Space Education and Outreach Committee (SEOC).
Delegates assemble! Rafi is ready for Day 1 of the IAC and is trying to get past Israeli security with my badge.
I think we found Rafi's favorite Israeli company. Rafael in Space!
Rafael Aerospace obviously loved him too and gave him a lanyard so that he could have a "Youngest Professional" badge.
There are many socials and events at the IAC, but they are best attended with family in hand. Rafi loved all the space parties. Yes this blog is more about Rafi than the conference ;-)
Dale, Steve and I working hard at a Space Foundation / +Space Generation Advisory Council reception telling people about the 2019 Orlando bid for the IAC. We (+Space Florida and Space Foundation) are working together (with +Visit Orlando) to win this bid for the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
Presenting some academic +Yuri's Night work in the "Space Culture" technical session on a Friday afternoon. We  surprisingly had a full room for the timeslot and I was honored that Jim Burke was in the room. Photo Credit: +Jessica Culler (Co-Chair of session with +Remco Timmermans and Nelly Ben Hayoun). The paper is available on Academia and ResearchGate or by direct request to me or my co-authors: +Alan Steinberg, +Jeffrey Alles or Remco.
The Gala Dinner with my parents also in attendance. The belly dancing was fun, but the noise became too much for Rafi so we had to walk it off.
Rafi did great for his first space conference! Next year in Mexico! Or space!


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