Sydney will host the 2025 International Aeronautical Congress, the world’s largest gathering of academics, industry, space agencies, and other stakeholders in the space sector.
The successful bid was a result of a vote at the Astronautical Federation General Assembly in Paris on Thursday in which Sydney beat out rival bidders Bangkok, Beijing, Riyadh, and Istanbul.
The Space Industry Association of Australia (SIAA) led the bid in partnership with the Australian Space Agency (ASA), Investment NSW, and events bidding firm BESydney.
According to estimates by Investment NSW, the conference in Sydney is expected to attract 4500 delegates and bring $21 million in direct expenditure to local businesses. This year’s congress – the largest so far – featured 250 exhibitors and attracted around 6,500 delegates over five days.
According to the bid’s information pack, the NSW government has “provided a substantial rental rebate to reduce venue costs” and the Commonwealth, through Tourism Australia, has “provided support to offset congress costs”.
The governments have also committed to a “guaranteed return of €500,000 [AU$743,000] to [the International Astrological Federation] on congress registrations”.
ASA head Enrico Palermo described the congress as a global platform to promote Australia’s space programs, capability, and industry talent.
“Hosting thousands of the most important players from the global space community will give us a unique chance to show how far Australia has advanced as a space-faring nation,” he said.
“IAC 2025 will create opportunities for Australian industry – both those already operating in space and those with the potential to contribute – to make new connections, accelerate adoption of critical technologies and tap into global supply chains.”
Bid leader and SIAA chief executive James Brown said Australia is a “pivotal partner in global space missions and a responsible voice in maintaining the sustainability of space”. He said the successful bid is evidence of the demand for Australian SpaceTech and talent.
This sentiment was echoed by Investment NSW interim chief executive Katie Knight, who added that the state “generates up to 75 per cent of Australia’s space-related revenue” and is home to 41 per cent of Australia’s space businesses.
The conference has been hosted annually since 1950 – a year before the International Astronautical Federation was founded – and has come to Australia on two occasions. In 1998 it was hosted in Melbourne and in 2017 was hosted in Adelaide.
Last year, key figures in the success of Adelaide’s successful 2017 bid launched the Andy Thomas Space Foundation to bid for the conference’s return to Adelaide in 2024. This bid was supported by the South Australian government but was unsuccessful.
IAC 2025 will be held at the International Convention Centre Sydney from September 29 to October 3, 2025.
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