The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) was established by ICSU, now the International Science Council (ISC), in 1958. Among COSPAR’s objectives are the promotion of scientific research in space on an international level, with emphasis on the free exchange of results, information, and opinions, and providing a forum, open to all scientists, for the discussion of problems that may affect space research. These objectives are achieved through the organization of symposia, publication, and other means.
Every second year, COSPAR calls for a Scientific Assembly (SA). These are conferences gathering most recently more than three thousand participating space researchers and dealing, via parallel sessions, on all the COSPAR topics of interest. The most recent Scientific Assembly is in August 2018 in Pasadena. The next COSPAR Scientific Assembly will be in 2020 in Sydney.
In years between SAs COSPAR holds a symposium. The 3rd COSPAR symposium took place on Jeju Island, in South Korea. The 4th symposium will take place in Israel. Symposia are smaller meetings than the general assemblies, gather a few hundred participants, and are more focused on specific topics.
Tha scientific work of COSPAR is done through eight Scientific Commissions, named Commission A through H. Each commission deals with one general topic of interest, from space studies of the Earth’s surface, meteorology and climate, to fundamental physics in space. The commissions encourage interactions between scientists, encourage and stimulate exchange of scientific results, and plan symposia by selecting an appropriate mixture of review and contributed papers.