AIAA Participates in International Space Event Written 7 December 2015

By Madhurita Sengupta, AIAA Program Manager (2015-2017)

(Former) AIAA Executive Director Sandy Magnus (far right) and (former) AIAA Program Manager Madhurita Sengupta (middle) interacting with attendees at AIAA's IAC 2015 booth. IAC 2015 took place in Jerusalem, Israel, in October 2015.

The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is the premiere annual event of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) and its partner organizations, the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). The event brings together thousands of decision makers from across all sectors of the global space industry to discuss the latest space discoveries and developments, as well as to explore opportunities to partner and collaborate. Many AIAA members participate in the IAC, and some are active on the committees that comprise the IAF, IAA, and IISL.

Hosted in October by the Israel Space Agency in Jerusalem, Israel, this year’s week-long Congress included plenary sessions highlighting the ongoing activities and advances of the world’s leading space agencies (China, the European Space Agency (ESA), India, Israel, Japan, Russia, and the United States), as well as a discussion on the merits of international cooperation in addressing exploration goals and terrestrial challenges; 50 years of spacewalking history; ESA’s Rosetta mission; and NASA’s Orion EFT-1 mission. With over 2,100 delegates representing 60 nations, IAC 2015 provided an excellent opportunity to engage across the international space community. Of particular note, at this year’s IAF General Assembly, one of our AIAA Board members, Mary Snitch of Lockheed Martin Corporation, was elected as a Vice President on the governing Bureau of the IAF.

The AIAA staff delegation at IAC 2015 focused its efforts on engaging with its existing partners, while also exploring opportunities for further collaboration with new organizations and IAF members. To this end, AIAA Executive Director Sandy Magnus met with representatives from our sister society, l’Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France (3AF), as well as the German Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics (DGLR), Women in Aerospace (WIA)-Europe, and the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), to discuss collaboration opportunities. These discussions yielded concrete approaches to partnering with our international counterparts in a variety of ways, including speaker and article exchanges and promoting technical committee member networking opportunities. IAC 2015 also provided AIAA with an opportunity to promote its intention to bid to host IAC 2019 in Washington, DC. On the second afternoon of IAC 2015, AIAA hosted a reception, providing members and conference attendees with an informal opportunity to interact with the AIAA delegation and learn more about the bid.

The IAF was founded in 1951 to allow the spacefaring nations of the time to engage freely at the height of the Cold War. Its primary missions include promoting cooperation, advancing international development, sharing knowledge, recognizing achievements, preparing the workforce of tomorrow, and raising awareness of global space activities. As a founding member, AIAA has remained active over the years, partnering with the IAF on a number of occasions to host previous IACs, two World Space Congresses, and the Global Space Exploration Conference. To learn more about the IAF, please visit:

For more information about the IAC, including instructions for submitting a paper to present at IAC 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico, please visit:

To learn more about AIAA’s bid to host IAC 2019 in Washington, DC, please visit: