New ICOMOS ISC on Aerospace Heritage

Banner AerospaceHeritageCommitteeICOMOS is pleased to announce that a new international scientific committee has been created on January 6, 2023: ISC on Aerospace Heritage (ISCoAH). With this announcement, ICOMOS’ heritage endeavours now extend from aviation and space related facilities on the Earth to the Moon and across the Solar System!


Humanity has always looked to the heavens as a place of inspiration and reflection. From the 18th century, balloons, airships and aeroplanes enabled people to sail into the blue; but they always returned to Earth. In 1957 the first spacecraft escaped the chains of gravity to orbit Earth, starting a process which saw human-made artefacts migrate to every part of the solar system and beyond into interstellar space. The material culture of humans in the skies has continued to increase exponentially until we are all dependent on objects and resources in space. But space is also deep-rooted to the ground, with sites on Earth intimately connected to the celestial. Our shared aerospace heritage that emerged from aeronautical and astronautical innovations connects all cultures across the planet.

There is a vast diversity of aerospace heritage site types that ranges from airfields to space launch complexes, crash sites, and tracking stations, and includes satellites, space transportation systems, space stations, deep space probes, robotic spacecraft, and encompasses planetary landing sites. Many of these sites are threatened and imperilled by abandonment and neglect, climate change, military conflicts, development activities, and the rapid increase of industrial and commercial exploitation of space.

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The ISCoAH committee’s mission is to facilitate the identification, investigation, protection, preservation, and sustainable management of humanity’s tangible and intangible aerospace and astronautical heritage on Earth, in orbit, and outer space. The committee’s focus is on humanity’s heritage in the cosmos and our shared participation in cultural and technical narratives related to sky and space.

The Committee is an expert group of heritage specialists interested in activities related to aeronautics and space exploration. Committee members include archaeologists, preservation specialists, engineers, historians, geographers, architects, pilots and geospatial analysts. Membership is global, with an ongoing commitment to be diverse and representative. The committee will collaborate closely with other ICOMOS committees and major international scientific centres.

[Text written by Founding members of ISCoAH]

The Secretariat of ISCoAH will be hosted by the University of Tromsø's Department of Technology and Safety.

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