The International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (www.iaass.org
), legally established 16 April 2004 in the Netherlands, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to furthering international cooperation and scientific advancement in the field of space systems safety. In October 2004, IAASS became a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). The association exists to help shape and advance an international culture of space safety (technical, organisational and socio-political), which would contribute to make space missions, vehicles, stations, extraterrestrial habitats, equipment and payloads safer for the general public, ground personnel and crews. The association will also study the safeguard of valuable on-orbit assets.
The second IAASS Conference “Space Safety in a Global World” is sponsored by ESA. The conference is an invitation to reflect and exchange information on a number of topics in space safety that are of national and international interest. The once exclusive “club” of nations with autonomous launch capabilities, is becoming crowded with fresh and ambitious new entrants. Commercial spaceports are being planned and built, while some of the old ones are changing hands from military to private and commercial management.
In the manned spaceflight arena a commercial market may start finally to emerge with space tourism and (government) demand for private cargo transportation services to orbit. Besides the national ambitions in space, the international cooperation both civil and commercial is also gaining momentum. The man who may land on Mars a couple of decades from now will probably carry a single international flag. In the meantime the robotic space exploration will accelerate and with it the need to internationally regulate the necessary usage of nuclear power sources. Space bound systems and aviation traffic will share more and more a crowded airspace, while aviation will increasingly rely on space-based safety-critical services. Finally, most nations own nowadays some space asset, mainly satellites of various kinds and purpose. Awareness is increasing (as solemnly declared since decades in space treaties) that space is a mankind asset and that we all have the duty of caring for it. Space debris pollution, including hundreds of spacecraft abandoned in commercial valuable orbits would no longer be left to the voluntary choice of the operators.
The second IAASS Conference will in addition dedicate a number of specialised sessions to Space Materials Safety. which will include topics such as flammability in microgravity, hypogravity and hypobaric environments, fire suppressants selection, toxic offgassing on long duration missions, biological supported corrosion in space habitats, materials screening for oxygen systems, propellant compatibility, stress corrosion, plus safety issues and features associated with new materials for space projects.