Published on March 17, 2021

The long journey to the IAF Digital Library

the gold standard for knowledge on space


The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) was proud to announce last October the launch of the IAF Digital Library, which represents the world’s largest repository with over 50 000 digital papers delineating the legacy of 70-year of space achievements and international cooperation for the benefit of humanity since the inaugural International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in 1950.

The IAF Digital Library is an umbrella project which was initiated in 2016 as part of the long-term vision of the IAF President’s Global Innovation Agenda announced by Dr. Le Gall, and finds its concretization today as a core mission of Prof. Ehrenfreund’s IAF Global Advocacy Agenda.

The project originated with the pioneering work of the space community which contributed to the annual IAC Technical Programmes with manuscripts and study projects on spacecraft and sounding rockets, and the publication of astronautical papers collected in the archival journal “Astronautica Acta”.

Many of these publications were scarce: some were published in small editions with a few copies. By 1968, IAC regular proceedings had reached four volumes in size with some 2 000 pages. Publishing and printing these volume sets became a considerable challenge. Therefore the IAF changed its publication system at the 1969 IAC in Mar del Plata, Argentina, publishing only selected papers in a special book, while all presented papers had to be available as preprints at the congress site.

While embracing the digital age, the IAF developed innovative solutions for the technical challenges associated with preserving and making all the materials accessible through DVDs and then online through digital proceedings. The primary aims of the proceedings were simple: to preserve and disseminate the precious research findings and knowledge about space, and make it as easily discoverable and as widely accessible as possible.

The IAF is fully committed and determined to accomplish its missions of knowledge sharing and spreading the benefits of space awareness, and sees the new Digital Library as a strengthening of the links between our members in industry, research and academia, and those who work in the front line in the field. We also take it as our duty to bridge the space and digital divide, and facilitate e-learning, research and publication allowing our community to succeed in the coming challenging decades.

Today, the IAF Digital Library has literally become the gold standard for knowledge on space, and we strongly believe this treasure trove of information can be used for much more than its original purpose.

Do not miss this exceptional opportunity to join us on this wonderful journey. Subscribe and play an integral part among this powerful audience which is the global space community.