Allan D. Emil Memorial Award

The Allan D. Emil Memorial Award is one of the most prestigious IAF awards. Since 1977, the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award is presented annually for an outstanding contribution to space science, space technology, space medicine or space law. This contribution either involved the participation of more than one nation or furthered the possibility of greater international cooperation in astronautics.

The award shall be preferably granted to a single person. Exceptionally, it may be granted to two or more persons if their contributions are equal or contributions made were the result of their joint efforts. Any IAF member organisations in good standing may nominate candidates for the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award. Only one nomination per organisation will be accepted each year. Every year during the IAF Spring Meetings in Paris, the IAF Honours and Awards Committee review the nominations and make a recommendation to the IAF Bureau. The final decision rests with the IAF Bureau. The Allan D. Emil Memorial Award is given during the closing ceremony of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). The award consists of a grant offered by the Family of Allan D. Emil and a certificate from the IAF. The Allan D. Emil Memorial Award recipient is also invited to participate in the Gala Dinner of the IAC. For further information about the award, please contact the IAF Secretariat at award [at]

EMIL Allan DAllan D. Emil (1898 – 1976), a noted U.S. lawyer, philanthropist, patron of the arts and business man, became attracted to aviation when he and aviation were both young. One of the youthful attorney’s earliest clients was Paul Kollsman, whose pioneering work on the altimeter paved the way for instrument flight. The association soon led to others, and in turn to Mr Emil becoming one of the foremost lawyers in the field of flight. Appointed counsel to the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, he was the only member of its board of directors who was not an engineer. Mr Emil played a crucial role in designing the merger which joined the Institute with the American Rocket Society to form the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. As the technology of flight expanded to include space, so did Mr. Emil’s interests. The award in his memory reflects these interests along with his deep commitment as an internationalist, humanist, and man of peace. His commitment was borne out in a multitude of activities. He was active in the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies for 30 years, and was Vice Chairman of its board of trustees. He had been Vice-President of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Treasurer of the American Federation of Arts, Executive Vice Chairman of the Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center, a founder of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a Trustee of Bennigton College, a Trustee of the American Friends of the Tate Gallery in London, and a patron of the Museum of Modern Art and a Fellow in Perpetuity of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At his death, he was a senior partner in the New York law firm of Rosenman Colin Kaye Petschek Freund & Emil.

Dr. Joan Vernikos received the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award at the International Astronautical Congress 2019 in Washington D.C., United States.





Dr. Lei Fanpei received the  Allan D. Emil Memorial Award at the International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide, Australia.





Dr. Charles Elachi received the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award at the International Astronautical Congress 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico.





Dr. Virendra Jha recieving the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award at the International Astronautical Congress 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. More pictures





Dr. Koppillil Radhakrishnan recieves the 2014 Allan D. Emil Memorial Award from IAF President Kiyoshi Higuchi at the IAC Opening Ceremony in Toronto, Canada. More pictures




IMG_0472_53a5c6 Ma Xingrui receives the 2013 Allan D. Emil Memorial Award from IAF President Kiyoshi Higuchi at the IAC Opening Ceremony in Beijing, China. More pictures







Credit: IAF/Armonica Film Kuninori Uesugi receives the Allan D. Emil Memorial Award 2012 from IAF President Kiyoshi Higuchi at the IAC Closing Ceremony in Naples, Italy






Book_emilThe Allan D. Emil Memorial Award 1977-2007 is a book published by the IAF in 2007. It details the story of one of the Federation’s most prestigeous awards. You may contact the IAF Secretariat to receive a copy.

2020 Recipient

2020 Dr. K. Sivan

Past winners

2019 Joan Vernikos

2018 Xia Guohong

2017 Lei Fanpei

2016 Charles Elachi

2015 Virendra Jha

2014 Koppillil Radhakrishnan

2013 Ma Xingrui

2012 Kuninori Uesugi

2011 Kuniaki Shiraki

2010 Nikolay Anfimov

2009 Wei Sun

2008 Conrad Lautenbacher

2007 Gerhard Haerendel

2006 Oleg Alifanov

2005 Ernesto Vallerani

2004 Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan

2003 Liu Jiyuan

2002 Jean-Claude Husson

2001 Richard Kline

2000 Marcio Barbosa

1999 Edward Stone

1998 Alvaro Azcarraga

1997 James Harford

1996 Anatolyi Grigoriev

1995 Karl Doetsch

1994 Saturo Saito

1993 Hubert Curien

1992 George Müller and U. Ram Rao

1991 Guy Severin and Yuri Semenov

1990 Oleg Gazenko, Arnauld Nicogossian and Karl Klein

1989 Johannes Geiss

1988 Vladimir Kopal

1987 Ruedeger Reinhard, Burton Edelson, Roger Bonnet, Roald Sagdeev and Minoru Oda

1986 Robert Freitag

1985 Hans Hoffmann

1984 Lubos Perek

1983 Roy Gibson

1982 Roger Chevallier

1981 Peter Jankowitsch and Leonid Sedov

1980 Thomas Stafford

1979 Santiago Astrain

1978 Konstantin Bushuyev and Glynn S Lunney

1977 Charles Draper