International Astronautical Federation to hold conference

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) will hold the world’s largest space conference in Paris today. The five-day congress brings together

International Astronautical Federation to hold conference

The International Astronautical Federation will hold the world’s largest space conference today – Photo: International Astronautical Federation

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) will hold the world’s largest space conference in Paris today.

The five-day congress brings together space agencies, scientists, academics and private companies to advance space study and research.

This year’s congress highlights the geopolitical rifts between the West and Russia over the latter’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite the IAF officially encouraging ongoing dialogue with Russian scientists, there is no official participation from Russia’s space agency—Roscosmos—nor any Russian company this year. Furthermore—with commercial space projects gaining increasing viability in recent years—the private sector has greater potential to advance the IAF’s remit for international space cooperation rather than governments.

Ultimately, however, these commercial ventures are limited by the legal jurisdiction of their home countries. Indeed, the growth of multiple regional space agencies and the increasing rivalry between the US-led Artemis Accords bloc and the Sino-Russian bloc is almost certain to complicate future cooperation efforts as both groups plan rival bases on the moon.

Expect developing nations in space exploration—as represented by the new regional space agencies—to be pulled into the orbit of either the US-led bloc or the Sino-Russian bloc in the medium-term future; ultimately hampering the IAF’s space cooperation remit.