Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) took over as the President of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) on October 11, 2009 during the General Assembly of the IAA in Daejeon, South Korea. Dr Madhavan Nair was the Vice-President of Scientific Activities of the IAA during the last four years.
The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) with its headquarters at Paris, France is an independent organisation of distinguished individuals elected by their peers for their outstanding contributions to astronautics and the exploration of space. The IAA organises conferences and collaborates with other partner societies. Although the IAA has many connections to other similar organisations, it is distinctive as the only international academy of elected members in broad area of astronautics and space. IAA membership consists of individuals who have distinguished themselves in one of the fields of astronautics or one of the branches of science of fundamental importance for the exploration of space. IAA membership today totals about 1200 members from 85 countries. The IAA is an honorary society with an action agenda. The Academy has a strong scientific program this year with about 16 stand-alone conferences around the world.
The Academy was founded in 1960 by the leaders among the early space pioneers and had as Presidents: Theodor von Karman, Frank Malina, Stark Draper, George E. Mueller, Michael Yarymovych and Edward Stone. The election of Dr Madhavan Nair to the post of President of IAA is significant as he is the first Indian expert in space to become President of IAA.
Dr. G. Madhavan Nair is currently Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and Secretary, Department of Space of Government of India. He is also the President of Astronautical Society of India (ASI). He started his career as Avionics Project Manager in the first Indian launch vehicle project. He was responsible for design, development and operationalisation of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) the work-horse launch vehicle of India. He held various responsibilities in ISRO including Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (largest Centre of ISRO) and Director of Liquid Propulsion System Centre. He became Chairman, ISRO in 2003, and has 25 successful missions so far during his tenure. He operationalised multiple satellite launches using PSLV. His most significant contribution is the successful launch of India's first mission to the Moon, the Chandrayaan-1, which has earned tremendous international acclaim. He is conferred with 'Padma Bhushan' in 1998 and 'Padma Vibhushan' in 2009 by the Government of India. He was awarded honorary Degrees of Doctor of Philosophy/Doctor of Science by 16 Universities in India.