Bremen – At the annual general meeting of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the Chair of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Executive Board, Pascale Ehrenfreund, was elected IAF Incoming President. The IAF was founded in 1951 between scientists around the world and support international cooperation in all space-related activities. The Federation is the world's leading space advocacy body with over 340 members, including all key space agencies, companies, societies, associations and institutes across 68 countries and six continents. Under the umbrella of the IAF, science, industry, space agencies, associations and NGOs promote exchange and cooperation in all space-related topics.
"The trust that the IAF has placed on me by electing me for this position is very special to me. That means taking the success of the IAC 2018 in Bremen into the future," said Ehrenfreund about her election. "It is imperative that the international space community collectively analyse, explore and work together on the common space challenges, bringing government, science and industry closer together."
The IAF meets once a year for its strategic general meeting as part of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). This year, the 69th IAC took place in Germany's Space City Bremen and was marked by numerous records. For the first time, more than 6500 delegates from 83 countries registered for the entire five days of the congress. A new level of international participation was achieved as a result of the number of countries involved. In addition, more than 10,000 visitors came to the open house on Wednesday, 3 October to experience, among other things, a live connection to the German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, who on that same day became the first German commander of the International Space Station ISS.
Pascale Ehrenfreund is the Chair of the DLR Executive Board of the largest research organisation for aerospace research in Germany and can look back on more than 30 years as an astrophysicist and professor of space policy. As the future president of the space organisation IAF she will be the first woman to hold this post. "It is important for more young women to join this professional field. It represents our future – with an incredible number of opportunities and jobs. I want to encourage females in particular to shun the fear of scientific subjects and engineering careers."