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Path of current page Home arrow Permanent Committees arrow History Cttee Wednesday, 29 March 2017
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History Permanent Committee Print
IAA Permanent Committee on History

1/ Terms of Reference:

In the wake of the creation of the International Academy of Astronautics on 16 August 1960, a committee on the History of the Development of Rockets and Astronautics was created by Theodor Von Karman in 1961. Its task was to stimulate the preparation of scholarly studies of various aspects of the development of rockets and astronautics in different countries from the earliest times. After disappearing in the frame of the IAA reform in 2000, the History Committee has been re-instated on 13 October 2009. The History Committee is established to pursue activities related to the study of the history of rockets and astronautics. The committee belongs to Commission VI (Space & Society, Culture & Education) of the IAA. The committee is chaired by a member of the IAA. The term of membership for both chairman and vice-chairman is 2 years, in line with the 2-year term of the IAA Board of Trustees. The membership of this committee comes from all sections of the IAA, and also includes other qualified individuals who may not be members of the IAA. The membership term is 2-year renewable. See Annex I for a summary of the chairs and secretaries.

The History Committee is tasked with various activities. 1/ History of Astronautics Symposium: The History Committee’s crown jewel, a yearly History of Astronautics Symposium is organised in the frame of the IAC. Beginning with a single session in 1967, it progressed to 2 sessions in 1983, 3 sessions in 1995 and 4 sessions in 2002. This last, special session, is often dedicated to the contribution of the local IAC organiser to astronautics, or to a joint session (e.g. with COSPAR), or to a special anniversary (e.g. Sputnik), or to guest speakers. The basic core of the Symposium thus is made of 3 sessions: Memoirs, Organisational histories, Technical & scientific histories. Papers cover the whole range of astronautics, from the XIth century Chinese rockets to matters at least 25 years old. A detail of the sessions, papers and attendance since 1994 is shown in Annex II . 2/ Proceedings of the History of Astronautics Symposium: One of the only two groups to do so in IAC (with the IISL), the History Committee has been publishing the proceedings of all its Symposium papers, since its beginnings in 1967, an absolutely unique and invaluable source of information for space historians. Each year a member of the committee is tasked with the edition of these papers, published in the American Astronautical Society (AAS) series. A detail of these books, as well as countries covered, is shown in Annex III . A special Book of Abstracts & Index was published in 2009, with all the abstracts of the papers published in the period 1967-2000, together with indices. 3/ Anniversaries: The History Committee is keeping track of astronautics anniversaries, and accordingly proposes any relevant commemoration activities. See Annex IV . 4/ Deceased people: The History Committee keeps track of recently deceased people in the field of astronautics. 5/ Personnel/national activities: The History Committee establishes yearly summaries of its members activities, as well as relevant activities in the members home area or country. 6/ Study Groups: Specific IAA Study Groups can be established in the frame of the History Committee. 7/ Other activities: Special visits, dinners, teleconferences, venues of personalities (with press conference) are organised. Diaporamas or film screenings, cultural events (e.g. pyrotechnical performance) should be organised. Current events, joint sessions with other symposia should be organised. A  web site should be established. See Annex V.

2/ Activity:

Meeting minutes, Paris, France, March 21, 2016
Meeting minutes, Paris, France, March 23, 2015
Meeting minutes, Toronto, Canada, October 02, 2014
Meeting minutes, Paris, France, March 17, 2014
Meeting minutes, Beijing, China, September 26, 2013

Volume 45 of the AAS History Series, History of Rocketry and Astronautics, Proceedings of the 47th History Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA)
2013, Beijing, China. Pub. 2015, 450pgs. Ed. Andrew S. Erickson.
(As usual the members of the IAA History Committe are entitled to a 50% discount on the list price.
For more details please contact Bob Jacobs   roberthjacobs(at)

AAS History - IAA Proceedings: list of publications (

3/ Membership:

Chair: Rothmund Christophe
Co-Chair: TBD
Secretary: TBD


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