Young Space Leaders (YSL) Recognition Programme

2019 IAF Young Space Leaders


The annual Young Space Leaders (YSL) Recognition Programme recognises exceptional students and young professionals (age 21-35) who demonstrate leadership in their academic or early careers.

The call for nominations for the programme is addressed to IAF Members, Regional Groups and Technical and Administrative Committees.

Candidates have to be between the age of 21 and 35 (on 1 January of the year following the call announcement) and be:

  • Contributing  to astronautics through their academic and/or professional activities,
  • Reaching out to other young people and to their community to share knowledge and experience,
  • Engaging colleagues in the international space community,
  • Contributing to the work of IAF committees and/or volunteering in support of other Federation activities such as physical or virtual participation on selection activities related to IAF grants, Next Generation Plenary and awards; participation in organization of IAC technical sessions and other activities; and participation on local organizing committees for GLEC, GLAC and other IAF meetings. (Note: Attendance at International Astronautical Congress does not in itself qualify).

Nominations have to summarise the nominees’ qualifications and specify how they meet the criteria. Two letters of recommendation per nominee are also asked for.

Young Space Leaders are chosen by a selection committee during the IAF Spring Meetings in March each year. They are then presented with their award during the Closing Ceremony of the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Awardees also attend the IAC Gala Dinner as guests of the IAF President and enjoy a free IAC registration. Travel expenses to the Congress are not covered by the IAF, but nominating individuals or organisations are encouraged to help identify sources of funding for their nominee if he/she is selected.

Up to five IAF Young Space Leaders are selected each year. Each should help increase knowledge among, and broaden the involvement of, students and young professionals in astronautics worldwide and in the IAF.

In the year following their induction, IAF Young Space Leaders:

  • are featured in an IAF newsletter and on the IAF web site with a short summary of their experience and achievements and their perspectives on space and international cooperation, including the role of the IAF
  • participate in a virtual event to interact with other young people on these topics and the benefits their involvement with the IAF and attendance at IACs has granted them, and highlight the opportunities available to students and young professionals at the upcoming IAC.
  • mentor the Emerging Space Leaders who receive IAF grants to attend the IAC.