The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) was established by the International Council for Science (ICSU) in 1958. Among COSPAR's objectives are the promotion of scientific research in space on an international level, with emphasis on the free exchange of results, information, and opinions, and providing a forum, open to all scientists, for the discussion of problems that may affect space research. These objectives are achieved through the organization of symposia, publication, and other means.
Every second year, COSPAR calls for a General Assembly (GA, also called Scientific Assembly). These are conferences currently gathering more than a thousand participating space researchers and dealing, via parallel sessions, on all the COSPAR topics of interest. The most recent GA is in August 2018 in Pasadena. The next COSPAR General Assembly will be in 2020 in Sydney. The 2016 GA was planned for August that year but was cancelled due to the 2016 Turkish coup d'état.
In years between GAs COSPAR holds a symposium. The 3rd COSPAR symposium took place on Jeju Island, in South Korea. The 4th symposium will take place in Israel. Symposia are smaller meetings than the general assemblies, gather a few hundred participants, and are more focused on specific topics.
Tha scientific work of COSPAR is done through eight Scientific Commissions, named Commission A through H. Each commission deals with one general topic of interest, from space studies of the Earth's surface, meteorology and climate, to fundamental physics in space. The commissions encourage interactions between scientists, encourage and stimulate exchange of scientific results, and plan symposia by selecting an appropriate mixture of review and contributed papers.
The 2019 COSPAR symposium will be held in Herzlyia, Israel. A preliminary list of invited speakers has Jack Lissauer from NASA Ames, Alan Stern from SWRI, Jose Sobrano from Valencia, Avi Loeb from Harvard, and Eric Priest from St. Andrews. A more comprehensive list of speakers, as well as the topics of the symposium and a preliminary program, will become available following the Pasadena GA in August 2018.