Plenary Event 3 at the 2012 International Astronautical Congress in Naples focus was on commercial space transportation initiatives.The Plenary Event provided "a snapshot of the political, economic, and technical landscapes to best determine if, when and how much humankind could be ready to embark on futuristic scenarios based on massive space commercialisation."
Further from the plenary introduction: "Today commercial space transportation is still in its early stage, and many problems have to be tackled in the fields of technology, engineering, physiology, regulations, business, etc. However, concrete steps are being made on spaceports, suborbital flights, space tourism, and orbital reach access to ISS as well, with achieved launch capabilities slowly diffusing also among space developing nations. Several studies agree that in few decades the number of people spending days, weeks, months or even years in LEO could reach hundreds or thousands."
Represented on the panel were:
- Alan Bond, Founding Director, Reaction Engines (UK)
- George Nield, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (USA)
- William Gerstenmaier, Associate Director, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (USA)
- Silvio Sandrone, Head of Business & New Programmes Development Astrium Space
- Luce Fabreguettes, Vice President Business Development, Arianespace (France)
- Georges Whitesides, CEO, Virgin Galactic (USA)
The moderator was Simonetta di Pippo, Head of European Space Policy Observatory,
Italian Space Agency (Italy)