Opening ceremony of International Astronautical Congress took place

Opening ceremony of International Astronautical Congress took place

The opening ceremony of the 74th International Astronautical Congress was held today at the Baku Congress Center. After 50 years, Baku experienced the excitement and joy of the International Astronautical Congress for the second time.

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva and their son Heydar Aliyev attended the event.

The Head of State spoke at the opening ceremony of the congress.

Welcoming the participants of the event, International Astronautical Federation (IAF) President Clay Mowry expressed satisfaction that the congress will be held in Baku again after 50 years and noted that it was an important event in the history of the Azerbaijani space industry.

The opening ceremony was attended by more than 3,200 guests. Among them were influential representatives of the world space community, representatives of space agencies and companies from the USA, China, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, Israel, UAE, India, Japan, Italy, Great Britain, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, the International Telecommunication Union, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the Executive Committee of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), as well as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Turkish Company Baykar Selcuk Bayraktar.


At the opening ceremony, a video was shown about the history and culture of Azerbaijan, prominent scientists, as well as the 24th International Astronautical Congress held in Azerbaijan 50 years ago.

The following video shows how the Chinese Space Agency sends the memory of the Baku Congress into space: a photograph of Great Leader Heydar Aliyev and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, taken at the Congress in 1973, was delivered to the Chinese space station. Chinese cosmonauts congratulated the Head of State of Azerbaijan and the participants of the event and wished success in the work of the congress.

The historic photo sent into space, as well as other photos depicting the Baku Congress in 1973, a special commemorative plaque with stamps and accessories were presented to President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on behalf of the Chinese space community.

A corporate video of the International Space Station was also shown at the opening ceremony. Famous cosmonauts wished the participants success in the work of the congress.


The International Astronautical Federation awards were also presented during the event.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk was awarded the International Astronautical Federation’s World Space Award for his achievements in space. The award was presented to Stephanie Bednarek, the commercial director of SpaceX. It is worth noting that Elon Musk will virtually join the International Astronautical Congress on 5 October.

The World Team Space Prize was awarded to a team of experts from the United States (NASA), the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency who played a role in building the famous James Webb Space Telescope.

The International Astronautical Federation’s International Award for Corporate Excellence was also presented to Thomas Zurbuchen, a former NASA science administrative assistant.

It should be noted that these awards are given to those who have made exceptional contributions to space science, space technology, space medicine, space law or space science.


Professor Yuval Noah Harari, an influential writer and historian, was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony. The speaker spoke about the tremendous opportunities that space offers for human development.


The opening ceremony featured a rich programme including art composition, music and elements of space.

In the Auditorium Hall, where the event was held, multi-coloured ice ropes reflecting the Milky Way were installed, and the flow of stars from space was simulated with the help of electronic platforms suspended from the ceiling.

The programme demonstrated the richness and uniqueness of Azerbaijani culture.

The guests were presented the philosophical views of the great Azerbaijani poet and thinker Nizami Ganjavi (1141–1209) on the cosmos.

In addition, a graphic composition depicting the transition from the Maiden Tower of Bhutan, considered the bearer of the secrets of the universe, to the ornaments of national carpets, the journey into space of Khari Bulbul flower, the symbol of Karabakh, and the red horses of Karabakh were shown.

One of the most interesting parts of the event was the success story of innovative developments with the help of a robot controlled by artificial intelligence.

In the end, the 4 main elements of the universe – water, fire, air and earth – were revived by synthesizing 4 genres – jazz, rock, classical music and mugham.

The jazz composition was performed by Spanish singer Buika, rock by Azerbaijani singer Aslan Nuri, classical music by Honoured Artist of Azerbaijan Nargiz Kerimova, mugham by People’s Artist of Azerbaijan Alim Gasimov.

It should be noted that more than 5,000 delegates from over 120 countries have registered to take part in the 74th International Astronautical Congress, which began under the slogan “Global Challenges and Opportunities: Give Space a Chance”.

The event will run until 6 October.