They are an annual meeting of the actors in the discipline of space, and are generally held in late September or early October. They consist of plenary sessions, lectures and meetings. The IAC is attended by the agency heads and senior executives of the world's space agencies.
As the Second World War came to an end, the United States and the Soviet Union began to divide due to their differences in ideology and the governance of their country. As the Cold War began to take shape, communication between the two countries became less frequent. Both countries turned their focus to achieving military superiority over the other.
The International Astronautical Federation was formed six years after the Iron curtain fell by scientists from all over Europe in the field of space research in order to collaborate once more. During the years of the Space Race, the IAF was one of the few forums where members of both East and West Europe could meet during the annual International Astronautical Congresses.