Dr Christian Feichtinger
"Ensuring Sustainable Success" 
Dr. Christian Feichtinger, Executive Director, IAF
On 25 September 2017, you are going to kick off the 68th annual International Astronautical Congress. What convinced you to meet in Adelaide this year?
The decision where to host the annual IAC is made by the IAF General Assembly, i.e. by representatives of all our 327 member organisations during the General Assembly meeting, three years in advance. Proposals to host an IAC are received from IAF member organisations in response to a call which is usually opened four years in advance.
Our IAF Congress and Symposium Advisory Committee (CSAC) reviews the proposals, holds interviews with the bidding teams, and makes a recommendation to the IAF Bureau and General Assembly. As IAF Executive Director, I am asked to undertake site inspection visits to all the proposed venues and to give a report to the CSAC, Bureau and General Assembly. Ultimately, the decision is made by the IAF members, either by consensus or through a majority vote.
You have chosen the Adelaide Convention Centre as the home for your convention. Why?
The ACC is a brand new venue after renovation. It has the capacity to hold all necessary events of an IAC, a huge Plenary Room for more than 3500 people, the necessary number of break-out rooms for the technical sessions, committees and bilateral meetings, and a large area to host a space exhibition. The ACC team has demonstrated that it is professional, competent, very flexible and has prepared an excellent proposal.
What is the social and cultural resonance of your conference?
The IAC is the one place and time of the year where the entire global space community comes together. Hosting such an elite community with prominent Heads of Space Agencies and CEOs of industries, as well as politicians, VIPs and celebrities present for one week, puts all the focus of the general public on this event and on space, and is a perfect opportunity for the host country to demonstrate its space capabilities to a worldwide audience.
For those delegates who cannot join you in Adelaide, can they participate remotely / via social media?
Sure, we will intensively report from all the main events through social media. All our plenary and Global Networking Forum events will be filmed and recordings will be made available on social media after the Congress.
What are currently the main challenges for IAF as an association, as well as for the congress?
The main challenge for the IAF is to preserve its attractiveness also in the years to come. Building on our success of the past and present, the IAF President, Dr. Jean-Yves Le Gall, has announced an IAF Global Innovation Agenda 2016 – 2019, defining concrete priority actions to ensure the sustainable success of the IAF in the future.
Our IAC is growing every year with more participants, and a more and more complex programme. The challenge for the future is to ensure that the IAC success story will be continued and to identify and attract member organisations and venues willing and capable of hosting such a large-scale event. The IAF is putting an extraordinary effort into supporting future hosts to be able to deliver an outstanding congress also for future years.