After the Second World War, the United States, the Soviet Union and their former allies moved in very different directions, each striving to militarily outwit the other. In the tense Cold War atmosphere, scientists found themselves in an increasingly polarised world, where most of the dialogue between the rival superpowers was closing down.
Six years after the Iron Curtain descended, scientists from the field of space research created 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 – better known as the IAC – were one of few forums where East and West could meet during the Space Race. In 2011, the IAF marked its 60th Anniversary and, throughout the years, continues to witness history through the remarkable achievements of its member organisations.
The IAF has seen its membership grow substantially following the integration of new and emerging space nations into its network. Its achievements in supporting international cooperation over the last six decades have been greatly fulfilling and a source of pride, and the Federation continues to build one of the largest worldwide networks of space experts and decision-makers.
The following organisations were the founding members of the IAF and signed its Constitution on 4 September 1951 during the first ever IAC in London:
- Argentina: Sociedad Argentina Interplanetaria (Argentianian Interplanetary Society)
- Austria: Österreichische Gesellschaft für Weltraumforschung (Austrian Society for Space Research)
- France: Groupement Astronautique Français (French Astronautic Group)
- Germany: Gesellschaft für Weltraumforschung Stuttgart (Society for Space Research Stuttgart), Gesellschaft für Weltraumforschung Hamburg (Society for Space Research Hamburg)
- Italy: Associazione Italiana Razzi (Italian Rocket Association)
- Spain: Asociación Española de Astronautica (Spanish Astronautical Association
- Sweden: Svenska Interplanetariska Sällskapet (Swedish Interplanetary Society)
- Switzerland: Schweizerische Astronautische Arbeitsgemeinschaft (Swiss Astronautical Association)
- United Kingdom: British Interplanetary Society
- United States: American Rocket Society, Detroit Rocket Society, Pacific Rocket Society, Reaction Research Society
IAF Resolution 1950