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IAC2010 - Day 1

Posted 09-27-2010 at 09:39 PM by hribek
Updated 09-27-2010 at 09:43 PM by hribek

Technically my job began yesterday already, as I gave directions to a group of student participants that I met in the subway by coincidence. Looking forward to a quick ride back to the dormitory, I realized there's a bunch of youngsters like myself right next to me - space this, space that. I had some explaining to do as we took another train, and I couldn't stop chuckling.

The morning was funny, about 20 minutes of waiting for the cafe to open, where four of us were supposedly going to help reconfigure some tables for an early meeting of NASA folks. I used most of that time for getting a snack. Eventually, all we got to do was to move one of the two-by-two tables, and even that seemed superfluous as the guests got seated (NASA administrator inclusive).

The opening ceremony was quite nice. It was composed of speeches and performances and took about two and a half hours. The 2 or 3 speeches of Czech politicians in the first part dragged the overall quality down a bit. Not everyone is a good speaker but I'd expect politicians to be better than average. That they were speaking in English only seemed to be a good excuse until I thought about it again.

Some of the volunteers spent a substantial amount of time picking up people who were lost and guiding them to the smaller meeting rooms for technical sessions. Although I wouldn't believe it in the beginning, the best way to go about doing that was to accompany the puzzled participants all the way to their destination. Especially to the IAF General Assembly, which was in an obscurely placed conference hall on the 4th floor, in the far end of the building. One of the delegates I helped out confused it with the huge congress hall - stretching across three floors and a capacity for almost three thousand people. Today, "lost in space" got a completely new meaning and unexpected dimensions.

And that wasn't all. From what I've heard, there were some accent-induced misunderstandings. You know how much difference there is between a "press room" and "restroom"? Not enough, sometimes.

In between saving lost souls, I was at the Plenary Event 1 - Heads of Agency. After short initial summaries of latest development in teir organizations, quite a few interesting questions from the moderator and from the public were answered by US, European, Russian, Japanese and Indian agency leaders. Too bad there wasn't at least a representative for China. I still remember the "we're considering international cooperation" from last autumn at the ASE 22nd Planetary Congress. According to Bolden, now the situation is such that he's asking his international partners about how the talks with the Chinese are going. Another time for giggles came when Alexei Perminov's interpreter started interpreting in Russian, instead of English as everyone had expected him to.

Before I ran off to school at half past five, I stopped at the Exhibition and pulled some information out of the REL rep there, and told him about my plans for a Skylon Orbiter addon. Of course I could have just E-mailed them a request for additional preliminary vehicle specifications, but there's nothing like introducing someone to Orbiter in person. And the fifteen minutes were well spent on discussing the engine details.
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