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Space: the most prestigious symposium in the world will open its doors, without the Russians

The 73rd International Astronautical Congress (IAC), the largest space event in the world bringing together several thousand representatives from all continents, will open in Paris on Sunday in the absence of official representation from Russia.

From Sunday to Thursday, more than 6,500 senior officials from space agencies, astronauts, scientists, industrialists, engineers, students, etc. are expected at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center (south of Paris), said CNES, the agency French Space Agency, host of the event, the last edition of which was held in Dubai.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has planned to intervene at the opening.

As a consequence of the war in Ukraine, there will be no official participation from Russia and its space agency Roscosmos, unlike previous editions of the IAC. The Russians “did not ask to participate so we did not have to refuse”, detailed Lionel Suchet, deputy director general of CNES (National Center for Space Studies) during a press conference.

A few dozen Russian participants, on the other hand, obtained individual visas to attend the symposium, and in particular to present scientific publications.

Astronauts Thomas Pesquet, Claudie Haigneré and Jean-Loup Chrétien, the first Frenchman to fly in space forty years ago, will speak during a day open to the general public on Wednesday.

Organized for the first time in 1951, in France, the IAC today has 433 members from 72 countries. This is the most important and prestigious space symposium in the world, aiming in particular to promote cooperation, share knowledge and prepare for future missions.

For this 73rd edition, the CNES is counting on a “record” participation of more than 7,000 representatives.