GLEX 2017 second day continued to look deep into significance of global cooperation and international partnerships within space exploration. Indeed, an interesting presentation on the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) outlines the work of fifteen space agencies intending to advance the implementation of individual and collective space exploration.

A collective effort is also at the core of the African continent eager to create a continental African space agency that will be focusing on mapping Africa.

The first Keynote Lecture provided detailed tidings on Lockheed Martin’s vision for the near-future space developments focused on the Orion Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), partnered by the European Space Agency (ESA), to be launched in 2019. Rob Chambers, Program Strategy Lead for Orion Production, also stressed the importance of utilizing the existing technologies to accomplish the space goals quicker attesting that “today’s systems are for tomorrow’s discoveries”.

During the day, another main question emerged from the talks: should we explore the Moon or Mars? While for Russia the interrogation should be centered on the direction rather than on the destination, for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Space Agency, Mars is clearly the main focus with their ambitious mission to explore Mars by 2021.

On the moon side, Sun Weigang, Chief Engineer, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation presented the Chang’e- 5 Lunar Probe mission’s development. He firmly stated that “China is willing to jointly explore the boundless universe and peacefully utilize outer space together with countries all over the world”.

Last but certainly not least, the legendary Buzz Aldrin gave insights on his Cycling Pathways to Mars concept, focused on exploring Mars. The Keynote was moderated by IAF President, Jean-Yves Le Gall, who confessed that “it is thanks to Dr. Aldrin’s legendary mission to the moon that he decided to start a space career”.

Source: IAF GLEX 2017