Jim Zimmerman

James “Jim” Zimmerman was elected to two terms as President of the International Astronautical Federation serving from October 2004 to October 2008. During that period Jim and his IAF Bureau colleagues helped guide the Federation through a period of growth with the addition of new technical and administrative committees and the introduction of the global conference series. Jim is perhaps best known for his efforts to encourage the participation of students and young professionals in the IAF including those from countries with emerging space programs.

Born in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, Jim Zimmerman studied at Beloit College in Wisconsin and at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC where he received Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees, respectively. After service in the US Navy and following completion of his graduate studies in 1971 Jim joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration where he helped coordinate NASA’s international programs in earth and space science and later became Director of International Programs and Plans.

In 1980 Jim left NASA to serve as the first Director of the International Affairs Office of the National Environmental Satellite Service in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At the same time NOAA assumed responsibility for the Landsat Earth observations satellite program. From 1882 to 1985 Jim Zimmerman served as Assistant Director for Export, Import and International Safeguards of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission where he was responsible for approving American exports of fuel and reactor components to other countries for nuclear power and research purposes.

In 1985 Jim returned to NASA to become the Agency’s European Representative. During this twelve-year assignment he was based in Paris, France and traveled extensively throughout Europe to help NASA conduct collaborative programs with the European Space Agency and with national space agencies throughout the continent.

After retiring from the US Government in 1997, Jim Zimmerman founded and served as President of International Space Services, Inc. providing space policy and business development support to companies and space agencies in Asia, Europe and North America. Jim retired from International Space Services at the end of 2022 though he continues to participate in several commercial and volunteer space activities.

Jim Zimmerman is a Fellow in the American Astronautical Society and an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics where he also served as Vice President - International. He is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics and was a co-author of an Academy cosmic study on Next Steps in Exploring Deep Space. He also served as rapporteur of Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World, a report published in 2009 by the U.S. National Research Council.

Jim was twice awarded NASA's Exceptional Service Medal. In addition, he received the European Space Agency's International Space Station Award and the German Space Agency's International Cooperation Award. He received the American Astronautical Society’s Award for the Advancement of International Cooperation in 2008 and the International Astronautical Federation’s Distinguished Service Award in 2017.