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. Election to the Academy is a recognition of an individual’s record of service and achievement, and members are leaders in space and aeronautical activities in their own countries. New members are elected by their peers in the Academy; full members are elected for life, while corresponding members are eligible for full membership after two years, but retire after five year. Membership brings with it the commitment to work with fellow members for the betterment of mankind through the application of the art and science of astronautics.
People in almost every profession contribute to the development of astronautics. Therefore, the IAA is arranged in four sections that are in charge of the membership. These four sections reflect the IAA major disciplines :
- Basic Sciences,
- Engineering Sciences,
- Life Sciences and
- Social Sciences.
The governing body of the Academy is the Board of Trustees, which includes the President, four Vice-Presidents, four section Chairs, four Trustees from each section, the Legal Counsel and the Secretary General.
The Board of Trustees meets two or three times yearly. A regular meeting of the full IAA is held every two years. Academicians are also invited to meet during IAA Regional Meetings.
Four Standing Committees are responsible for policy recommendations and guidance of operations in particular areas of IAA affairs. The Vice-Presidents are chairpersons of the IAA Standing Committees, i.e. :
- the Scientific Activities Committee,
- the Awards and Membership Committee,
- the Publications & Communication Committee and
- the Finance Committee.
The IAA Scientific Activities are managed as follows:
- The Scientific Activities Committee (SAC) is in charge of the Scientific Activities. The SAC report to the Board of Trustees and coordinates and decides of the programs.
- The Commissions report to the Scientific Activities Committee (SAC) and are in charge of coordinating all scientific activity including studies, symposia and conferences.
- The Study Groups report to the Commissions and are groups of experts in charge of producing an Academy report within a timeframe of 3 years or less.
- The Program Committees report to the Commissions and are groups of experts in charge of the symposia and conferences, either stand alone (8 to 10 symposia each year) or at IAC (15 symposia each year).