American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the scholarly society for the field of aerospace engineering. Founded in 1963, the AIAA succeeded two engineering societies: the American Interplanetary Society (AIS) later known as the American Rocket Society (ARS), founded in 1930, and the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences (IAS), founded in 1932.

The AIAA is the U.S. representative on the International Astronautical Federation and the International Council on the Aeronautical Sciences. As of 2004, the AIAA has more than 35,000 members. Despite its name, the society has members among aerospace professionals worldwide, although the majority are American and/or live in the United States. Some AIAA seminars and conventions are restricted to U.S. citizens, due to security issues.

The AIAA is split into seven regions, North-East, South-East, Central, South-Central, Mid-West, West, and International. The regions are subdivided into Sections, usually based in major cities. Universities with programs in aerospace engineering or related fields may form Student Branches, which are overseen and in part funded by their parent Section.

The AIAA has recognized that the U.S. aerospace industry is facing a rapidly aging workforce, and recently has begun pushing to recruit new students to the field. Student Branches tend to be on the front lines of this task, with many Sections offering funding or incentives for their Student Branches to increase membership. The AIAA currently has over 5,000 student members.

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