60 Years of the IAF

After the Second World War, the former allies of the United States and the Soviet Union moved in very different directions, each vying to militarily outwit the other.

Huge strides had already been made in rocketry but, in the tense Cold War atmosphere, pioneers found themselves in an increasingly polarised world, closing down most of the dialogue between the rival superpowers. So, six years after the Iron Curtain descended, scientists working in the field of space research founded the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in an attempt to re-establish that dialogue.

In its early years, the Federation and its annual International Astronautical Congresses were one of the few forums where East and West could meet during the Space Race.

In the open scientific forum offered by the Congresses, shared knowledge leaped forward.

As an international non-governmental and non-profit organisation, the IAF encouraged the advancement of knowledge about space and the development and application of assets for the benefit of humanity.

The Federation has become the world’s foremost space advocacy organisation. Its 205 members include all leading agencies, space companies, societies, associations and institutes worldwide.

The International Astronautical Federation marks its 60th Anniversary in 2011. Through the years, we have continued to witness history through the remarkable achievements of our member organisations.

We have seen our membership grow substantially as we have integrated new and emerging space nations into our network, initiated activities, and teamed the actors of the community on an increasingly global scale. We are tremendously proud of our achievements in supporting international cooperation over the last six decades, and remain hosts to one of the largest worldwide networks of space experts and decision-makers.

In order to commemorate this occasion, the IAF held a celebration on 22 March 2011 at the prestigious UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. As this celebration equally honoured the 50 years of Human Spaceflight and recognised our member organisations achievements, IAF personalities and astronauts from all over the world met with young people on stage for an exciting journey through six decades of space history, and a fresh look into the future.


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60th Anniversary Celebration

On 22 March 2011, the International Astronautical Federation gathered astronauts and cosmonauts together at a special celebration in Paris to mark our diamond jubilee.


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60th Anniversary Award

The IAF honours its 60th Anniversary with a special, one-time award to recognise an outstanding achievement in the area of Space Applications for Human Benefit.


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60th Anniversary Flag

IAF received back 300 flags flown into space for 444 days aboard Soyuz TMA-20, ISS, Endeavour STS-134, Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-9

60 years of IAF