International Astronautical Federation

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) (French: Fédération internationale d'astronautique) is an international space advocacy organisation based in Paris, and founded in 1951 as a non-governmental organization to establish a dialogue between scientists around the world and to lay the information for international space cooperation. It has over 340 members from 68 countries across the world. They are drawn from space agencies, companies, universities, professional associations, government organizations and learned societies. It is linked with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) with whom the IAF organises the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC).[1]

International Astronautical Federation
Formation1951 (1951)
Founded atParis, France
TypeNon-governmental organization
PurposeSpace advocacy
300 members from 66 countries
Official languages
English, French


After World War II, Heinz Gartmann, Gunter Loeser, and Heinz-Hermann Koelle formed the German Rocket Society. They contacted the British Interplanetary Society and Groupement Astronautique Francaise. The French group's leader, Alexandre Ananoff, organized the First International Congress for Astronautics in Paris in September 1950. At the second congress in London in September 1951, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) was organized; at the third congress in Stuttgart in 1952, the IAF constitution was adopted and the organization registered under Swiss Law.[2]


The largest and most well-known IAF event is the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which takes place annually in September or October. The IAC features high-level plenaries and highlight lectures, specialised young professionals' students events, Global Networking Forum, and a technical programme presenting latest advances in science and exploration, applications and operations, technology, infrastructure, and space and society.

There are a variety of side events including the annual UN/IAF Workshop , which takes place during the 2 days preceding the IAC.

The IAF also organises the 'Global Conferences' series, with the:
Global Lunar Exploration Conference (GLUC 2010) in Beijing,
Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2012) in Washington DC,
Global Space Applications Conference (GLAC 2014) in Paris,
Global Space Innovation Conference (GLIC 2015) in Munich,
Global Conference on Space and the Information Society (GLIS 2016) in Geneva,
Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2017) in Beijing,
Global Space Applications Conference (GLAC 2018) in Montevideo.

Working in close cooperation with the United Nations, the IAF also organises the Space Workshop for Developing Nations. With the Committee on Space Research and the International Institute of Space Law, the IAF also conducts an annual survey of Highlights in Space for the United Nations.

International Institute of Space Law

The 'International Institute of Space Law (IISL) was founded as a spin-off from the IAF in 1960.[3] By cooperating with appropriate international and national institutions, it aims to fostering the development of space law.


The IAF runs two large-scale awards schemes for young professionals and students: The Emerging Space Leaders (ESL) Grants, and the Young Space Leaders Recognition (YSL) Programme. This allows young people to attend the IAC free of charge, and have their travel, accommodation and costs paid whilst there.

Every year at the International Astronautical Congress, awards are given out: The main awards are the IAF World Space Award, the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award, the IAF Hall of Fame, the IAF Distinguished Service Award, the Franck J. Malina Astronautics Medal and the Luigi G. Napolitano Award.

Frank J. Malina Astronautics Medal

The Frank J. Malina Astronautics Medal is presented every year at the Congress of the IAF. The medal is presented annually, commencing in 1986, to an educator who has demonstrated excellence in taking the fullest advantage of the resources available to him/her to promote the study of astronautics and related space sciences.

The Frank J. Malina Award consists of the Malina commemorative medal and a certificate of citation, presented at the International Astronautical Federation Awards Banquet. The funding for the medal is by the Aerojet-General Corporation and administration for the medal done through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).


The IAF publishes proceedings from its meeting electronically, along with studies undertaken by IAF committees,[4] and other reports.[5]

See also


  1. "About Us". Iafastro website. Iaf. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  2. Ley, Willy (December 1967). "Astronautics International". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 110–120.
  3. "Introduction » International Institute of Space Law". Retrieved 30 May 2019.

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