+49 (0) 421 9600-10
31.1.2017 - Sonja Bleibenich

“50 per cent of the exhibition space has already been reserved”

Aerospace
How the 2018 International Astronautical Congress in Bremen is becoming a reality

Bremen, October 2018: around 4,000 industry experts from all over the world are in the city to attend the International Astronautical Congress. But it’s not just at the congress that people are talking about space. It’s also a topic of conversation in pubs, schools and even nurseries. The organising committee is working flat out to make sure this all becomes a reality. The committee is based at the Centre of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM), which is part of the University of Bremen. In the following interview, Peter von Kampen and Birgit Kinkeldey from ZARM talk about programming and planning for the world’s biggest space industry conference – the theme of which is ‘Involving everyone’ – and about good news from Mexico.

The local organising committee at ZARM is working flat out on preparations for the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which will take place in Bremen in 2018. The team are pictured here (from left to right): Claus Lämmerzahl, Marc Avila, Birgit Kinkeldey and Peter von Kampen © ZARM, University of Bremen

What have you taken away from Mexico, where the IAC 2016 was held? And why was it important for you, as hosts of the 2018 event, to be there?

Peter von Kampen: The annual IAC, which has just taken place in Mexico and will be held in Australia in 2017, is a key event for us, because we want to promote the 2018 congress and Bremen as a hub for the space industry. And, of course, we want to show the delegates the qualities that Bremen will offer as a host city.

So how did it go?

Peter von Kampen: Mexico was a resounding success for us! 50 per cent of the exhibition space has now been reserved. The big challenge for the coming months will be getting everything else on a firm footing. For this we’ll need exhibitors, sponsors and delegates. We kicked things off in June at the ILA Berlin Air Show – and we are now right in the midst of the planning.

Martin Günthner, the Minister for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports, and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of the European Space Agency, at the Bremen stand at the 2016 IAC in Mexico. © ZARM, University of Bremen

Space agencies, research institutes and companies in the space industry come together at the IAC to find out about the latest technologies and scientific advances. As well as the exhibition there is also a congress. What is your job here as the local organising committee?

Birgit Kinkeldey: The International Astronautical Federation in Paris is putting together the scientific conference programme, for which around 3,000 papers have been submitted. Our job as the local organising committee is to turn all of this into the perfect event. We do everything from finding suitable venues, booking hotel allocations and registering delegates to organising the space exhibition and the fantastic supporting programme, which is next on our agenda.

What do you have in mind for this?

Birgit Kinkeldey: As an aerospace hub we are in a position to put together a comprehensive programme for the delegates. Of course, Bremen is home to companies such as Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt DLROHB and Airbus, but also research institutes such as the Institute of Environmental Physics, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, ZARM itself and the Centre for Technomathematics – all of which deal with aspects of space travel. There’s a real breadth of expertise in the city and we want to demonstrate this to our delegates.

There will also be a tourism programme, of course, and we are particularly keen to get the whole of Bremen engaged with the event. We want people to be talking about space in schools, at universities, in public areas and even in pubs and cinemas, places where you wouldn’t ordinarily expect this.

Birgit Kinkeldey, Head of Corporate Communication, ZARM 

What opportunities will the IAC present for trade and industry in Bremen and for scientific research?

Peter von Kampen: Our primary concern is to show the world what Bremen has to offer when it comes to space travel. It’s why we submitted a bid to host the event. We want to bring the international aerospace industry here and to facilitate collaborative projects and the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Bremen, as a hub of the space industry, will obviously benefit greatly from this. And I’m sure that the local retail and hospitality industry will welcome the news that some 4,000 visitors from out of town will be spending more than a week in the city!

Every IAC has a theme, which in 2018 is ‘Involving everyone’. What’s the thinking behind this?

Birgit Kinkeldey: We know from many studies that groups work much more effectively when they have a mix of ages, genders and cultural backgrounds. We want the space industry to become more diverse too. 

Our motto is diversity.

Birgit Kinkeldey, Head of Corporate Communication, ZARM

How will this be reflected in the congress?

Birgit Kinkeldey: We are looking to increase the proportion of female delegates, for example. One of our targets is for 50 per cent of the main talks to be held by women. That will be a new record if my calculations are right. Young girls and young women need these role models to show them that they too can forge a career in the industry and achieve their goals.

We also want to attract younger delegates. There will be a conference for schoolchildren, for example, giving them the opportunity to submit proposals for talks. And we want to specifically attract delegates from countries that do not have a space agency of their own.

You were also part of the organising committee when Bremen first held the IAC in 2003. 2,700 people attended that event. For 2018 you are reckoning on up to 4,000 delegates: that’s a whole new ball game.

Peter von Kampen: 2003 really was a very different time. Things have moved on quite a lot since then, not only with the IAC and how it is organised but also for Bremen too as an aerospace hub. Back then we mainly just needed to organise the congress and the accompanying exhibition. Now there are up to 50 other events that go on at the same time. That’s a tenfold increase. And so we are now having to bolster our team with two new full-time members of staff.

Ms Kinkeldey, Mr von Kampen, thank you for speaking with us.


For further information on innovation in space technology contact Dr Barbara Cembella, cluster manager for the space sector, +49(0)421 9600 340, barbara.cembella@wfb-bremen.de.

Click here for information on the aerospace industry in Bremen.

Investing in Bremen
16.02.2017
World Trade Center Bremen: everything under one roof

Geographical distance and cultural differences make it hard to relocate or start up a company in another country. Luckily, help is at hand from the team at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Bremen. They'll do all they can to make your international business a success.

Aerospace
15.02.2017
"Bremen has everything that a hub for the space industry needs"

In December 2016 ministers from the European Space Agency (ESA) member states met to determine the roadmap for the European space sector for the years ahead. Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Bremen submitted joint recommendations. In the following interview Dr Peter Vits, Bremen's State Coordinator for the Space Sector, talks about Bremen's strengths and opportunities.

Aerospace
14.02.2017
Take-off for Bremen: what makes the city a hub for aerospace expertise

The sky is not the limit, at least not in Bremen. All parts of the aerospace sector are represented in the city, from R&D to production. Aeroplane wings, Ariane rockets and Galileo satellites – Bremen is one of the leading locations in the international aerospace industry. Here are five factors behind Bremen’s story of success.

Automotive Industries
27.01.2017
E-mobility: why electric vehicles are on the up in Bremen

The Bremen region has long been a pioneer in electric mobility and is now set to enjoy further success after Mercedes-Benz and Borgward announced that they will be making electric vehicles in the city.

Automotive Industries
24.01.2017
Five reasons why Bremen is a leading automotive hub

Bremen knows how to make cars: the Mercedes-Benz plant by the Weser river has been in operation for almost 40 years, is the focal point of the city’s automotive industry and automotive clusters, and is now the company’s biggest global facility in terms of vehicle production numbers. Reason enough for an ever-growing number of suppliers and logistics firms to base themselves in Bremen.

Investing in Bremen
21.12.2016
Sigma Textil GmbH: how Muhammad-Farhan Aslam turned his father's business around

Sometimes you have to learn from other people's mistakes and trust your instincts. That is what Muhammad-Farhan Aslam believed when he took over his father's business. Not only did he change the business model, but he also shelved his own plans to move to England. Instead he stayed in Bremen. And it turned out to be one of many good decisions that he made.

Maritime economy and logistics
14.12.2016
The Cargo Distribution Centre (GVZ) in Bremen: a logistics hub with a bright future

For 30 years, the Cargo Distribution Centre in Bremen has delivered excellence – as an investment location and a logistics hub. Today more than 150 companies employing approximately 8,000 people are based at the site. It offers direct links to the ports, the autobahn and has a close proximity to Bremen City Airport.

Investing in Bremen
07.12.2016
Bremeninvest guidelines for foreign nationals setting up businesses in Bremen

Language barriers, unfamiliar legal and fiscal systems, qualifications that need to be recognised. There are many additional hurdles that entrepreneurs have to overcome when setting up a new branch or a new company in a different country. Bremeninvest is committed to offering you advice and support from the outset.

Investing in Bremen
01.12.2016
Innovative spinal surgery company NuVasive finds success in Bremen

You might expect a Bremen-based company specialising in innovative instruments and implants for spinal surgery to be located at the Technology Park. But you'd be wrong. NuVasive Germany GmbH has its head office at the heart of the city centre next to Wallanlagen Park. Now employing a team of 44 people, the company generates annual revenue of more than €10 million – a figure that looks set to rise.

Investing in Bremen
30.11.2016
Chinese LED business finds success in Bremen

David Zhou came to Bremen three years ago with the aim of conquering the market – and a new continent – with LEDs. He started his business selling LED lighting and electronics at the World Trade Centre at Bremen Airport and has gradually built it up over the past few years.

Aerospace
25.11.2016
Aircraft construction at close quarters – behind the scenes at the Airbus Group

What makes an aircraft fly? You don't have to be an aerospace expert to be fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes at one of the largest aircraft construction companies in the world. The Airbus Group in Bremen turns the dream of flying into ...

more articles