International Astronautical Congress in Baku: opportunities for new industrial era
Exactly 50 years later, Azerbaijan is hosting again the 74th International Astronautical Congress in Baku. It is a significant day for the whole of Azerbaijan to hold such an event, which marks the opening of new paths in economic, social, industrial, as well as technological spheres of development. The last congress was held in 1973 with the help of national leader Heydar Aliyev.
Let us go back in time to the second half of the 13th century to the town of Maragha, where the outstanding Azerbaijani scientist Nasiruddin Tusi (1201-1274) worked and cognized the sky, and where one of the largest observatories of that time was built on his initiative and astronomical calculations on stars. At that time, the scientist was able to prove in his conviction the necessity of studying the natural elements and their occurrences directly having an influence from the celestial bodies, in the movement of the planets, in the occurrence of lightning. The necessity of this project was approved and put into action by Hulagu Khan, the ruler of the Ilkhanid state, where, referring to history, the interest in knowledge could greatly help in wartime.
According to the plan of the scientist astronomer Tusi, the Maragheh Observatory was to become a home for the greatest scientists of the time, a cradle for the development of astronomy, mathematics, and geography. N.Tusi believed that any ruler who develops his country for the good should also be interested not in wars, but in the education of scientists, and the development of science and knowledge.
The results obtained by the observers of the Maragheh Observatory were quite accurate not only for their time but also for the future 2-3 centuries.
On this occasion, scientist Charles A. Berry wrote in "A Brief History of Astronomy": "Here labored a mass of astronomers under the general supervision of Nasiruddin. The instruments they used were remarkable for their magnitude, and were, in all probability, better than those used in Copernicus' time; they were surpassed for the first time only by those of Tycho Brahe."
In 1959, the establishment of the Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory was laid down in the history of Azerbaijan.
In 1973, the 24th Congress of the International Astronautical Federation was held in Baku on the initiative of Azerbaijan's national leader Heydar Aliyev.
In 2009, the State Programme for the establishment and development of the space industry in the Republic of Azerbaijan was approved by the President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev, which stimulates the process of further development of the aerospace industry in the country.
Azerbaijan's national satellite operator Azercosmos was established on 3 May 2010.
Azerbaijan's first satellite Azerspace-1 was launched into space on 8 February 2013 from the Guiana Space Centre located in French Guiana.
On 30 June 2014, the Azersky Earth observation satellite was successfully launched into orbit from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
On 26 September 2018, Azerbaijan's third satellite, Azerspace-2, was successfully launched into orbit from the Guiana Space Centre located in French Guiana.
At the General Assembly of the International Astronautical Federation in Washington, Baku was selected as the host city of the International Astronautical Congress in 2023.
In 2021, Azerspace was transformed into the Space Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On 4 August 2023, the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On Space Activities" was approved by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
Baku has been the first and the only city in the region where IAC was organised in 1973. Today, Azerbaijan is the winning country, holding the 74th International Astronautical Congress IAC 2023 in Baku under the title "Give Space a Chance".
IAC 2023 in Baku is being attended by more than 500 representatives from 101 countries, including space agencies, industrial complexes, global media, investors, and those who have a desire to discover the beautiful, rich culture and history of Azerbaijan.
Among the agencies and companies participating in the exhibition are the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Japanese space agency JAXA, Italian space agency Agenzia Speziale Italiana, AIRBUS, Canadian Innovation Centre INO, French National Space Research Centre CNES, Indian space agency ISRO, Turkish space agency Turkiye Uzay Ajansı and other international companies.
A grandiose future is beginning to dawn for Azerbaijan as many companies are willing to help develop and modernise the technological aspects of this area of space exploration. Time will come and space industry institutes will be built in Baku, pavilions will be built for training and education of Azerbaijani astronauts in space exploration, and avenues will be opened for the young generation of Azerbaijan. And the desire to become an astronaut will soon become possible.
The speeches touched upon the global changes of the world scale, and the need to solve many issues concerning mankind soon, in uniting the forces of countries. The rapid development of AI was also touched upon in the topic of space exploration for mankind, where the former will help and modernise the needs of mankind.
At the opening of IAC 2023 in Baku, the President of Azerbaijan delivered a wonderful speech to the congress, recalling that Azerbaijan became a member of the global space club more than 10 years ago, and has two telecommunication satellites and one Earth observation satellite.
"The Congress here in Baku will certainly give a new impetus to the development of the space industry, the development of our country's high technology and innovation sector, its modernisation," the President said adding that Azerbaijan is looking to be further upgraded.
"Nowadays, modernisation is a word that describes our vision of the future, our agenda and our plans. During the years of independence, Azerbaijan has turned into an active member of the international community. Our policy is always very clear, transparent, straightforward and aimed at winning friends and deepening cooperation," President Ilham Aliyev added.
Azerbaijan has been a multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-confessional society for centuries, which is confirmed not only in words but also in deeds. In this attractiveness, many companies in the person of China have turned to Azerbaijan, in desire to help build technological and social institutions for the development of the sky, and in many respects, this was promoted by the onset of peace and prosperity in the Caucasus, where three years ago Azerbaijan fulfilled the main task set for itself by restoring territorial integrity, which was violated for more than 30 years.
Azerbaijan experienced aggression, occupation, and ethnic cleansing, which was a great tragedy for the people and a great humanitarian catastrophe. For many years Azerbaijan has been trying to solve the conflict peacefully and put an end to the occupation. For 27-28 years international organisations, which were obliged to pay attention and put an end to the occupation, did not yield any results, in the face of the UN Security Council and the adoption of 4 resolutions, which required the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territories of Azerbaijan. In the end, Azerbaijan solved the conflict itself, sacrificing many lives.
Now the main task for Azerbaijan is peace and prosperity in the Caucasus, cooperation and gaining new friends. This kind of event will have a favourable impact on all kinds of industries and will give impetus to investments.
Abbas Ganbay is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @Noend33
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