After the USSR launched its first Earth Satellite in 1957 and thereby opened the space age, the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), now the International Council for Science, established its Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) during an international meeting in London in 1958. COSPAR’s first Space Science Symposium was organized in Nice, France in January 1960.

COSPAR’s objectives are to promote scientific research in space, with emphasis on the exchange of results, information and opinions, and to provide a forum, open to all scientists, for the discussion of problems that may affect scientific space research. These objectives are achieved through the organization of Scientific Assemblies, publications and other means.

Dr Rasool became a member of Working Group 6 (Application of Space Techniques to Meteorology and Earth Surveys)  in 1965. He was elected Chair of the Interdisciplinary Scientific Commission A (Space Studies of the Earth’s surface, meteorology and climate) in 1979 for a first term of 4 years, extended to 1984, and then a second term until 1988.

Dr Rasool recieved the COSPAR WILLIAM NORDBERG MEDAL in 1988. This medal commemorates the work of the late William Nordberg and is awarded to a scientist who has made a distinguished contribution to the application of space science in a field covered by COSPAR.