Elon Musk and nearly 5,000 space experts have left Adelaide reaching for the stars with the South Australia capital benefiting from its largest business event to date.
The billionaire tech entrepreneur was a keynote speaker at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in September, which was attended by 4,470 delegates from 71 countries and regions.
Musk, who is the CEO of SpaceX and one of the engineers behind the Tesla vehicles, gave a presentation on “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” to a packed auditorium at Adelaide Convention Centre.
Musk revealed plans by SpaceX to build a base on the moon and further outlined his ambitions for a city on Mars as part of his vision for affordable space travel and colonization of the red planet.
The congress also heard announcements by state and federal governments to establish a space industry centre in South Australia and a national space agency. Italy's largest privately owned space company – SITAEL – also plans to set up a company in South Australia to develop nano-micro and mini-satellite based satellites, space mission concepts and a satellite ground station.
Other space mission agreements signed during the five-day conference included one between DLR, the German Aerospace Centre, and South Australia. Adelaide space start-up Fleet teamed up with the French space agency to trace and support Fleet's first nanosatellites.
Adelaide Convention Bureau says the space industry is worth about A$400 million and the conference itself had an estimated economic impact of A$24 million for South Australia and created the equivalent of 229 jobs.
More than $1.2m was spent on regional and city sightseeing tours including sold-out tours of the Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Victor Harbor, Kangaroo Island and the Murray River.
"This amazing event is the epitome of what hosting conferences is all about," says Damien Kitto, CEO of Adelaide Convention Bureau
"The IAC absolutely captivated the city and in addition to the immediate benefit of the large economic benefit for tourism operators, it is the value of the incredible legacies that come into play well after the last delegate has returned home that truly highlight the importance of winning these large-scale industry events for South Australia.
"With the capacity to host events of this size, the Bureau looks forward to winning many more large-scale events to Adelaide," says Kitto.
Michael Davis, chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia, worked with the convention bureau to bring the event to Adelaide, said “the event has been universally judged as one of the most successful ever”.
Adelaide-based PCO All Occasions Group worked with the International Astronautical Congress both in Australia and overseas over a three-year period to organise the congress.
The PCO's director, Anne-Marie Quinn, says: “All Occasions Group has managed conferences across the globe in some incredible destinations, but nothing in the history of the company compares to being the official conference organiser of the 2017 IAC – particularly with it being in our hometown.”