International Astronautical Federation has been preparing for hosting one of the largest conferences ever happened. Organizers have however been dealing with several geopolitical as well as political issues regarding the event. This is the 70th year of International Astronautical Congress which would officially initiate on October 21, 2019. Above 6300 people have registered to be a part of the conference. Representatives from American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and IAF who are jointly hosting the event have given out the details on October 20th in a press conference.
There would be a panel with experts of big agencies on October 21stlike Jim Bridenstine, Administrator at NASA and spokespersons from various space organizations of India, Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and China. Blue Origin’s billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos will be awarded with “Excellence in Industry” achievement, the first ever at IAF on October 22nd. Mike Pence, the Vice President has an inaugural speech at the ceremony on October 21st. Since there is already ambiguity regarding Pence’s views on social issues, when the organizers had announced of his presence, there was some criticism about the decision.
An online petition was in fact released on October 19th where IAF was requested to call off Pence’s invitation and cancel his speech due to his social views. Organizers have said they would simply leave the venue when Pence starts with his speech at 10:15 a.m. Approximately 150 people have stated to do so. However, it is still unclear as to how many would be present at the conference.
Hosts of the event said they were rather very proud that Pence has agreed to join the conference. They provided explanations as to why his presence is important. Executive director at AIAA, Dan Dumbacher said AIAA supports diversity. Voice of every person should be heard and Vice President’s voice is no different.