[IAC 2022 Paris] International Affairs and WARPSPACE Culmination Seen at the World’s Largest Space Development Conference

The International Astronautical Congress (IAC), one of the world’s largest space conferences in space development organized annually by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), was held this year in Paris. The IAC has a long history; this year was the 73rd since its inception in 1950. More than 6,000 participants from all over the world attend the IAC to present development plans and academic research results of space agencies of various countries.

The IAC includes the main session in which the presidents of space agencies of each country take the stage, technical sessions in which peer-reviewed academic research is presented by topic, and booth sessions in which space agencies and space-related companies of each country exhibit. From WARPSPACE, CSO Hirokazu Mori, CMO Ryota Takahashi, and BizDev Hitoshi Kunii participated in a booth sponsored by JAXA and gave presentations on the stage organized by JAXA and Mitsui Fudosan, respectively. In this article, we report on the IAC in detail.

The Microcosm of International Politics - IAC Main Session and Background of Participating Countries

In the eye-catching main session, the top executives from NASA (USA), ESA (Europe), JAXA (Japan), ISRO (India), and other national space agencies of various countries took the stage. They presented their space development plans and additional information in a conference hall with a capacity of about 1,000 people. This is truly a session with a lineup of gorgeous faces that can only be seen at the IAC.

The main session stage. Presentations were given by a lineup of faces that lived up to the name of one of the world’s largest conferences.

However, the number of participants from Russia and the Chinese space agencies — while both are significant players in space exploration — was limited.

Mori said that there were no participants from Russia due to recent changes in social situations. On the other hand, he said, the number of Chinese scientists, engineers, and others, although still few, is steadily increasing. Until last year, they had been restricted from participating in the IAC by the Chinese government and were rarely seen. The U.S. and China keep each other in check in international affairs, but Europe and China are building good business partnerships. Mori considers that this is why the IAC is being held in Paris this time and why companies with some Chinese capital are participating in the IAC. China’s “Chang’e” project won the IAF World Space Award at the IAC, and China also announced that it is seeking international partners for a follow-on project to “Chang’e” [1].

[1] Andrew Jones (2022, September 9th). China seeks partners for lunar and deep space exploration SpaceNews

In this way, we can see a situation that is a microcosm of international politics: the headwind for Russia and the further rise of Chinese capital on the European stage.

SAFRAN, based in France, also exhibited at the booth session described below. SAFRAN has been doing business in China for 40 years, making China an inseparable business partner for Europe.

Booth Sessions with Companies and Space Agencies from around the World

On the other hand, JAXA also had a booth and held a booth session where space agencies and space-related companies from around the world exhibited, along with well-known companies such as Lockheed Martin.

Exhibitions from the UK Space Agency (Top left), Lockheed Martin (Top right), ESA (Bottom left), and JAXA booth (Bottom right). Numerous exhibits by space development players from around the world are eye-catching.

Along with IHI and other domestic private companies, WARPSPACE also exhibited in the JAXA area. We also had an opportunity to make presentations on the stage hosted by each JAXA and Mitsui Fudosan. The presentations focused on the merits of optical communication technology for the Earth observation satellite industry and deep exploration communication [2] , and introduced the technical demonstration of an optical communication network [3].

[2] Press Release (2022, June 1st). WARPSPACE Has Completed the Study Contract of Cislunar Optica Communication Commissioned by JAXA

[3] Press Release (2022, September 8th). Japanese satellite laser-comm and SAR startup start studies to accelerate satellite imagery acquisition

The presentations attracted so much attention that there needed to be more chairs and some people had to stand to watch. Many companies have shown interest in topics related to optical communications. Of course, many companies worldwide are involved in optical communications nowadays. However, the number of operators providing optical communication as a service, such as WARPSPACE, is still limited compared to the number of companies providing components. “We are starting to see more operators of Earth observation satellites and developers of optical ground stations gathering at our sessions to collect information- which is a very good sign,” said Mori. Mori also said that companies involved in space station operations expressed interest in WARPSPACE’s business. WARPSPACE is steadily gaining recognition as an optical communications startup.

Mori during his presentation on stage hosted by JAXA. The session was so much attended that some people had to stand to watch.

WARPSPACE has been actively expanding overseas since last year. Compared to the previous year’s IAC, we saw the culmination of overseas business development this year.

On top of that, Mori says it is essential to demonstrate the technology to develop WARPSPACE’s business further. A significant milestone in showcasing such technology will be the optical communication network technology demonstration with Synspective. WARPSPACE will continue to challenge the global stage to become a key player in inter-satellite optical communications. Please stay tuned for more news on WARPSPACE’s business development.

JAXA’s booth was decorated with logoed “Masu” (a wooden sake cup) and Dassai (a popular sake brand in Japan). Even at one of the world’s largest conferences, the spirit of Japanese hospitality shone through.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
WARPSPACE Inc.

We are startup company started as a project in University of Tsukuba, 2011. We will provide the optical telecommunication service with LEO Sat operator by 2023.