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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Founded January 31, 1963
Type Professional Organization
Origins Merger of the American Rocket Society and the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences
Area served Worldwide
Method Industry standards, Conferences, Publications
Members 39,000+
Key people

Dr. Michael Griffin(current president)

Sandra Magnus (Executive Director)
Revenue $ 21 millions (2009)
Slogan "The World's Forum for Aerospace Leadership"
Mission "to address the professional needs and interests of the past, current, and future aerospace workforce and to advance the state of aerospace science, engineering, technology, operations, and policy to benefit our global society."[1]

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The AIAA was founded in 1963 from the merger of two earlier societies: the American Rocket Society (ARS), founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society (AIS), and the Institute of the Aerospace Sciences (IAS), founded in 1932 as the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences.

AIAA is the U.S. representative on the International Astronautical Federation and the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences. As of 2004, AIAA has more than 35,000 members. Despite its name, the society has members among aerospace professionals worldwide, although the majority are American and/or live in the United States. Some AIAA seminars and conventions are restricted to U.S. citizens, due to security issues.

AIAA is split to seven regions, North-East, South-East, Central, South-Central, Mid-West, West, and International. The regions are subdivided into Sections, usually based in major cities. Universities with programs in aerospace engineering or related fields may form Student Branches, which are overseen and in part funded by their parent Section.

Another aspect of AIAA is their standards writing activities. In the past, AIAA standards for aeronautics have been incorporated into broader standards and public laws. These standards help transition innovative aeronautical ideas to everyday usage.


  • Journals 1
  • The AIAA Foundation 2
  • Student branches 3
  • Technical committees 4
    • Space Colonization Technical Committee 4.1
  • Honors and awards 5
    • Goddard Astronautics Award 5.1
    • Reed Aeronautics Award 5.2
    • Holt Ashley Award for Aeroelasticity 5.3
      • Controversies 5.3.1
    • Lectureships 5.4
    • Missile Systems Award 5.5
    • Wyld Propulsion Award 5.6
  • Other awards 6
  • Conferences 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


As a major activity AIAA currently publishes several technical journals. The AIAA Journal is published on a monthly basis and serves as the flagship journal of the society. The other journals are published bi-monthly and have more specialized topics:[2]

  • Journal of Aerospace Information Systems (formerly Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication)
  • Journal of Aircraft
  • Journal of Energy (published from 1977 to 1983)
  • Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
  • Journal of Hydronautics (published from 1967 to 1980)
  • Journal of Propulsion and Power
  • Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets
  • Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer

A monthly general interest magazine called Aerospace America is sent to all members. AIAA also produces several series of technical books ranging from education to progress in advanced research topics. One of the other important contributions of these Journals is review and survey papers by experts. Review and survey papers are written by those who have conducted extensive research for decades.

The AIAA Foundation

AIAA formed the AIAA Foundation to devote more attention and more resources to the education of both practicing and future aerospace professionals.

Specifically, the Foundation funds programs including assistance, research, and professional societies that recognize the outstanding individual contributions of educators and students provides additional educational services to aerospace professionals. The AIAA Foundation funds numerous scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate scholarships range from $2,000 to $2,500. Graduate scholarships are $5,000 or $10,000.

Student branches

AIAA has recognized that the U.S. aerospace industry is facing a rapidly aging workforce, and recently has begun pushing to recruit new students to the field. Student Branches tend to be on the front lines of this task, with many Sections offering funding or incentives for their Student Branches to increase membership. AIAA currently has over 6,500 student members.

AIAA currently has over 160 active student branches, including 12 foreign student branches, with a total active membership of over 6,500 students worldwide.

The student branches also host annual conferences in each of its nine branches. AIAA Student Conference site All the conferences vary in character from one another, but essentially their purpose is to provide a forum for AIAA Student Members at colleges and universities within the region to present technical papers in public competition. Cash prizes of US$500, US$300 and US$250 are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes in the undergraduate and graduate (masters candidates only) categories. The conferences serve to indoctrinate students into the practice of presenting technical work at AIAA meetings.

The fundamental objective of AIAA Regional Student Conferences is to provide student members with an educational experience that prepares them for their future as practicing aerospace engineers. Although regional conferences vary in character, students attend and present technical work as they would at a professional AIAA meeting. In addition, they establish professional relationships, learn from others, and hone their communication skills. Their work, both written and oral, is evaluated by professional members serving as judges, with the primary intent of providing substantial feedback on the quality of their work. The highest scoring papers are also recognized with awards and prize money.

Any AIAA member, student or professional, is invited to participate in a conference. Only undergraduate and Masters’ level student papers are accepted for competition. Ph.D. student papers are NOT eligible to compete for awards or prize money. Their work may be presented for review only; it would be more appropriate for them to present at AIAA professional technical meetings.

Technical committees

AIAA has formed a number of Technical Committees on topics of interest to its members. These committees are formed under major topic headings which identify their common interests. Additionally the Technical Committees develop and manage their own conferences and other events to promote, educate, or professionally develop skills and interest in their topic of interest. The technical committees listed by the Institute are:[3]

  • Adaptive Structures Technical Committee
  • Aeroacoustics Technical Committee
  • Aeroacoustics Technical Committee
  • Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Technical Committee
  • Aerodynamic Measurement Technology Technical Committee
  • Aerospace Power Systems Technical Committee
  • Air Breathing Propulsion Systems Integration Technical Committee
  • Air Transportation Systems Technical Committee
  • Aircraft Design Technical Committee
  • Aircraft Operations Technical Committee
  • Applied Aerodynamics Technical Committee
  • Astrodynamics Technical Committee
  • Atmospheric and Space Environments Technical Committee
  • Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Technical Committee
  • Balloon Systems Technical Committee
  • Communications Systems Technical Committee
  • Computer Systems Technical Committee
  • Design Engineering Technical Committee
  • Digital Avionics Technical Committee
  • Economics Technical Committee
  • Electric Propulsion Technical Committee
  • Energetic Components & Systems Technical Committee
  • Flight Testing Technical Committee
  • Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee
  • Gas Turbine Engines Technical Committee
  • General Aviation Technical Committee
  • Ground Testing Technical Committee
  • Guidance, Navigation & Control Technical Committee
  • High Speed Air Breathing Propulsion Technical Committee
  • History Technical Committee
  • Hybrid Rockets Technical Committee
  • Information and Command & Control Systems Technical Committee
  • Intelligent Systems Technical Committee
  • Legal Aspects Aero & Astro Technical Committee
  • Life Sciences & Systems Technical Committee
  • Lighter-than-Air Systems Technical Committee
  • Liquid Propulsion Technical Committee
  • Management Technical Committee
  • Materials Technical Committee
  • Meshing, Visualization, and Computational Environments Technical Committee
  • Microgravity & Space Processes
  • Missile Systems Technical Committee
  • Modeling & Simulation Technical Committee
  • Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Technical Committee
  • Non-Deterministic Approaches Technical Committee
  • Nuclear & Future Flight Propulsion Technical Committee
  • Plasmadynamics & Lasers Technical Committee
  • Product Support Technical Committee
  • Propellants & Combustion Technical Committee
  • Sensor Systems Technical Committee
  • Society & Aerospace Tech Technical Committee
  • Software Technical Committee
  • Solid Rockets Technical Committee
  • Space Architecture Technical Committee
  • Space Automation & Robotics Technical Committee
  • Space Colonization Technical Committee
  • Space Logistics Technical Committee
  • Space Operations & Support Technical Committee
  • Space Resources Technical Committee
  • Space Systems Technical Committee
  • Space Tethers Technical Committee
  • Space Transportation Technical Committee
  • Structural Dynamics Technical Committee[4]
  • Structures Technical Committee
  • Survivability Technical Committee
  • Systems Engineering Technical Committee
  • Terrestrial Energy Systems Technical Committee
  • Thermophysics Technical Committee
  • V/STOL Aircraft Systems Technical Committee
  • Weapon System Effectiveness Technical Committee

Space Colonization Technical Committee

The AIAA's Space Colonization Technical Committee was formed under the major group of Space and Missile systems.

Since its formation, it has issued two papers: SCTC Statement on Robust Implementation of Lunar Settlements and SCTC Recommendations for Robust Implementation of Lunar Settlements.

Honors and awards

AIAA recognizes persons who have contributed significantly to the fields of Aeronautics and/or Astronautics via issuing a variety of Honors and Awards. These include special memberships grades, such as:

  • Senior Member
  • Associate Fellow
  • Fellow
  • Honorary Fellow

Goddard Astronautics Award

AIAA's highest award for astronautics. It was endowed by Mrs. Robert Goddard in commemoration of her husband's pioneering efforts that led to the development of the fields of astronautics.[7]

Reed Aeronautics Award

AIAA's highest award for aeronautical science and engineering. It is named for Dr. Sylvanus A. Reed pioneer of the use of metal in propellor blades.[7]

Holt Ashley Award for Aeroelasticity

Initiated by the founder of Zonatech[8] and given every 4 years for those who have contributed significantly to the area of aeroelasticity. It is named after famous aeroelastician Prof. Holt Ashley who served as a faculty member at MIT and Stanford. Selection is monitored/coordinated by the awards sub-committee of AIAA Structural Dynamics technical group.


  1. The first award in 2010 was self awarded to the chairman of the award committee.[4] It is a violation of guidelines. A member of Structural Dynamics technical committee is not eligible to be a candidate . The first recipient was not only a member of technical committee but he was/is also the chair of awards selection sub-committee.
  2. To date two awards are given; but neither one of the recipients was recognized by Ashley in his last classical paper on aeroelasticity.[9] In that article, he cited works from many others.


Missile Systems Award

The AIAA Missile Systems Award may be presented in two categories, Technical and Management. The Technical Award is presented for a significant accomplishment in developing or using technology that is required for missile systems. The candidate must have demonstrated expertise in aerodynamics, guidance, thermophysics, navigation, control, propulsion, or other fundamental technical disciplines that has led to substantial improvement in missile systems. The Technical and Management award are presently alternatively at the biannual Missile Sciences Conference. Thus, the awards are presented once every four years. The 2008 Technical Award winner was Ernest Ohlmeyer. The award is administred by the AIAA Missile Systems Technical Committee.

Wyld Propulsion Award

This award is presented annually to honor "outstanding achievement in the development or application of rocket propulsion systems". The award honors James H. Wyld.[10]

Other awards

  • International Cooperation Award
  • Distinguished Service Award


As of 2010, AIAA will be taking over the organisation of the annual Society of Automotive Engineers.

See also


  1. ^ "About American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics". AIAA. Archived from the original on 7 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  2. ^ "Journals". Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Chair List". Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics - Technical Committees". AIAA. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  6. ^ "Space Colonization Technical Committee". AIAA. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  7. ^ a b c "Honors and Awards". AIAA. 
  8. ^ ""
  9. ^ Holt Ashley. "Role of Shocks in the "Sub-Transonic" Flutter Phenomenon", Journal of Aircraft, Vol. 17, No. 3 (1980), pp. 187-197.
  10. ^ "Wyld Propulsion Award Recipients". AIAA. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 

External links

  • Official website
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