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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

The IAS - Later Years (1945 to 1963)

In 1946, the IAS headquarters moved to the former Berwind Mansion, on East 64th Street in New York, including a Reading Room that was open to the public.  Much of the IAS collection was then able to be put on display, and there was even a museum there for a period of time.

By this time, Lester Gardner was 70 years old, and had administered the Institute for 14 years. His successor, Samuel Paul Johnston, a former World War I Army aviator and engineer, became the new Executive Director in April, 1946. Also that year, the IAS held seven national meetings, having had to curtail them during the war years.
Over the next few years, the IAS built two buildings on the West Coast, in San Diego and Los Angeles.  The Western Office and the Pacific Coast Library were there, and they also rented the space to the NACA, California Western University and other companies.

Under Paul Johnston, the IAS continued to gather technical information, but began to face the challenge of how to keep track of the ever-growing volume of literature.  An index of the latest technical articles in the field, covering 33 periodicals, had been published in the Aeronautical Engineering Review since 1936, but Johnston thought there might be a better way to organize the information. A consultant suggested that the IAS take the lead in the business of indexing and abstracting, and the IAS received a contract from the Army Air Force to develop a Standard Aeronautical Index.  The contract produced a thesaurus of terms and list of categories that would be used by all U.S. aeronautical abstractors. In 1954, the IAS created International Aerospace Abstracts, funded by NASA.

By 1958, the IAS began to see a drop in membership.  Aeronautics, which had been a leading technology, now seemed archaic.  Between 1954 and 1964 there was an immense shift in the emphasis from aviation to space, and the term “aerospace” started to be used more and more. To keep up with this sift, the IAS changed from the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences to the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences, and the Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences became the Journal of the Aero/Space Sciences.


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