Dubai wins bid to host the 2020 International Astronautical Congress

An estimated 5,000 scholars are expected to attend the largest annual gathering of space professionals in 2020

Dubai will host the International Astronautical Congress in 2020. Photo courtesy Dubai Government Media Office.
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Dubai has won the bid to host the 2020 International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which will take place days after the UAE Mars Mission launches its probe “Hope” to Mars.

The IAC is the largest annual gathering of space professionals in the world.

“I am proud that the UAE won as the host city for the International Astronautical Congress 2020, which will be attended by 5,000 specialised scholars and astronauts,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

He said it was a "deserved accomplishment for the UAE in the space sector".

“The congress will take place right after we launch the first Arab and Muslim probe to reach planet Mars… and also after we start working on the Mars Scientific City which will be the biggest space research centre in the world.”


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Sheikh Mohammed also hailed UAE nationals for their efforts towards this success.

“I am proud of the UAE youth who started putting the foundation of the UAE’s path towards its centennial [celebration]. We started working on our 2071 plan from now.”

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Dubai Crown Prince, said he was looking forward to welcoming 5,000 scholars from 70 countries.

Dubai will be the first Islamic and Arab country to host the congress, after the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre submitted an official bid to host the 71st edition last August. The proposal gave a thorough explanation of the UAE’s space sector, indicating the positive impact it will have on the space sector if Dubai were to host the congress.

Since its inception in 1950, the congress has hosted numerous prominent figures in the space industry worldwide and has issued recommendations that made a significant impact in the space industry. Earlier today, at the 2017 congress in Adelaide, Australia, Elon Musk outlined plans to colonise Mars by sending 100 people to Mars at a time and said he wanted to start sending people to Mars by 2024.