Sergey Saveliev, Deputy Head, Roscosmos presents Marina Sologub, Commercial Contracts Dept, National Space Centre (Ireland) with International Aeronautical Federation 60th Anniversary Flag in Naples, Italy.

After spending 444 days in space, flags commissioned by the International Aeronautical Federation (IAF) to commemorate their 60th Anniversary, have reached their final destinations.

NASA, Roscosmos, the Chinese Space Administration and the IAF collaborated to carry the commemorative flags through space on 444 days of missions, and last night presented the flags to IAF members at this year’s International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Naples, Italy (Wednesday, 3 October 2012.)

The flags left earth in December 2010 and returned for the final time in June 2012 after completing a series of missions.

The International Astronautical Federation was founded  (September 1951, London) in the tense Cold War atmosphere by scientists working in the field of space research in an attempt to re-establish dialogue between rival superpowers, and provided one of the few forums where East and West could meet during the years of the Space Race.

Journey of the 60th Anniversary Commemorative IAF Flags:

IAF Flags on board the International Space Station (ISS). Pic: IAF
  • Launched by Soyuz TMA-20 on 15 December 2010 to the International Space Station (ISS)
  • Flown aboard the ISS from 17 December 2010 to 30 May 2011
  • Returned back to Earth on the final flight of the Endeavour Space Shuttle STS-134 on 1 June 2011
  • Flew in weightlessness, Moon and Mars-reduced gravity on Novespace A300 ZERO-G flight during a CNES parabolic flight campaign in June 2011
  • Launched aboard China’s first space laboratory Tiangong-1 on 29 September 2011 into low-Earth orbit
  • Returned back to Earth aboard Shenzhou-9 on 29 June 2012

National Space Centre (Ireland) was invited to become a member of the International Aeronautical Federation and approved  by member organisations at the Congress meeting on Monday 1 October 2012.