|Founded at||Paris, France|
|397 members from 68 countries|
The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) is an international space advocacy organization 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 390 members from 68 countries across the world. They are drawn from space agencies, companies, universities, professional associations, museums, government organizations and learned societies. The IAF organizes the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC).
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.
The IAC is a space event and the largest put on by the organization, with approximately 6,000 participants each year. A different member of IAF is selected by IAF each year to host the IAC. An annual event held in September or October, the congress includes "networking events, talks, and a technical program on advances in science and exploration, applications and operations, technology, infrastructure, and space and society." There are side events including the annual IAF Workshop with the support of the UN, which takes place during the 2 days preceding the IAC.
The IAF Global Conferences are organized annually. Each year they have a specific space-related topic and theme, and are held in alternating or new locations.
The International Space Forum at Ministerial Level (ISF) is an event held by the organization.
The event was founded by the IAF Vice President for Science and Academic Relations in 2015. The gathering pushes discussion on the involvement of universities into space activities, and includes university ministers and delegates from space agencies and other international organizations. Keynote speakers focus on the event's selected theme for the year.
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.
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).