Report of the 2019 IAA Space Debris Conference held in Castelgrande

IAA Italian Regional Symposium of Space Debris Observations from Basilicata

Castelgrande, Italy, July 9-10, 2019

The IAA Italian Regional Symposium of Space Debris Observations from Basilicata was held in Castelgrande, Italy, July 9-10, 2019.

The event was organized by the Municipality of Castelgrande and the Company GAUSS Srl under the auspices by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and took place at the CastelGAUSS Astronomical Observatory on Toppo di Castelgrande in the Basilicata Region of the Southern Italy.

The symposium started with an opening ceremony including greetings of Prof. Filippo Graziani, GAUSS Srl President, Professor of Astrodynamics, IAA Member and Trustee, followed by Domenico Alberto Muro, Castelgrande Mayor. In conclusion Prof. Graziani gave an overview on IAA, on behalf of Dr. Jean-Michel Contant.

The event proceeded with 19 lectures by distinguished speakers belonging to the space debris research field, and concluding remarks by Prof. Paolo Teofilatto, Dean of the School of Aerospace Engineering of Roma.

The speakers presented the most recent developments on space debris issues. Technical sessions covered current and future research and applications, optical observations of space debris and Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), space debris monitoring, detection and data analysis, as well as space debris prevention and removal.

The experts discussed the current status and predicted evolution of the space debris environment and emphasized the necessity of active work on various aspects of this issue. Among other matters they pointed out the need for improved precision of the orbital parameters and elaboration of new methods and technology as well as regulations for sustainable use of outer space to be able to face new challenges und underexplored problems.

A special session dedicated to the introduction to Castelgrande Space Debris Observatory (CastelGAUSS) presenting data processed under this project was completed with a visit to the observatory. Located at 1250 meters above sea level and dedicated to space debris and asteroids detection, the facility is managed by the Company GAUSS Srl in cooperation with the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (KIAM), Moscow, Russia, and makes part of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON).

A talk by Kirill Blagodarov, a 11-year-old enthusiastic talent in the space debris field from Dnipro, Ukraine, who proposed his concept of a debris removal manipulator, turned out to be a peculiar and refreshing part of the symposium.

The event was also closely linked to the local and all-European cultural activities. During the meeting, on the 9th of July, the Municipality of Castelgrande was awarded by the title of “European Capital for a Day” within the Year of Matera European Capital of Culture programme designated by the European Union.

The symposium was concluded with a both educational and amusing visit to the city of Matera itself, the European Capital of Culture 2019 and a UNESCO World Heritage site from 1993.


by Olga Ovchinnikova


P.S.: The picture gallery of the conference is available here.

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