Gerhard Haerendel received the award for his pioneering contributions and achievements in space science during his time as principal investigator of several satellite projects.

The award was presented by former IAF President James Zimmerman at the 58th International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad, India in 2007.

Born in 1935, Haerendel received his PhD in physics from the University of Munich in 1963. In 1969 he became a fellow (Wissenschaftliches Mitglied) of the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Physik und Astrophysik and in 1972 – director of the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), retiring at the end of 2000.

Haerendel was the first dean of the International Space University, Strasbourg, in 1998. From 1989 – 2001, he was vice president of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). From 1994 – 2002, he was president of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). He has more than 40 years of experience in pursuing international cooperation in space research.

Haerendel served as principal investigator in several international rocket and satellite projects, e.g. PORCUPINE, Colored Bubbles, AMPTE, CRRES, FREJA and EQUATOR-S. His sounding rocket work pioneered the application of the barium plasma cloud technique to various aspects of plasma and magnetospheric physics, culminating in the creation of artificial comets in 1984 and 1985. His interpretations of satellite data led to the discovery of dayside boundary layers, small-scale reconnection events, high-beta plasma blobs in the magnetosphere and the in-situ confirmation of reconnection. His theoretical work covered the motion of plasma clouds, formation of ionospheric irregularities, equatorial spread-F, ambi-polar diffusion, diffusion of trapped particles, wave-particle interactions, reconnection, boundary layers, auroral arcs, cometary interactions, origin of spicules, solar flares and gamma-ray production in neutron stars.

Overall, Haerendel published more than 250 papers.