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2009 National Space Society Awards
The 2009 Wernher Von Braun Memorial Award was presented to Elon Musk for his work to enable inexpensive, safe, and reliable cargo and passenger transportation to space by a private company. Among other ventures, he is CEO of SpaceX, which is creating the Falcon family of potentially re-usable booster rockets. In attempting to develop lower cost access to space, using strict business methods, he seems about to achieve a goal which has eluded governments and other entrepreneurs for decades. At a house hearing in 2005 he said “SpaceX is dedicated to improving the reliability and cost of access to space for the greater purpose of helping us become a true space-faring civilization.”
The 2009 Gerard K. O’Neill Award for Space Settlement Advocacy was awarded to Peter Kokh, for his publication of the Moon Miners Manifesto for over 22 years. His editing and writing has created a huge resource of ideas and descriptions of space colony designs and equipment on the Moon and Mars, along with discussions of space settlements, the vehicles to access them, and the technology needed to sustain them economically. The vision of self-sustaining human settlements, in space and on planetary surfaces, and as part of a free, spacefaring civilization, is at the very heart of the space movement. Few have made such a large contribution to this field.
The Space Pioneer Awards for 2009 went to:
- Science and Engineering: Presented to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The award was given in recognition of the great accomplishment they have made in the success of the Lunar Probe Chandrayaan-1. The team cooperated with and integrated instruments from both ESA, the USA and Bulgaria, including support from a total of 10 countries, in addition to its own (ISRO) instruments. The probe and its sub-probes have all worked very well, especially for a first attempt of this magnitude. The data coming back from Chandrayaan-1 is scientifically significant, of good quality, and is being shared in a very timely manner. All aspects of this project, including scientific, technical and managerial, were handled very well.
- Space Development: Presented to John C. Mankins for his critically important work on, in support of, and to promote government, private, media and public interest in and support of Space Solar Power. This includes his authorship of the “Fresh Look” Study in the last decade, his general support for SSP within NASA, and his recent successful attempt to bring the topic before the public with the Discovery Channel’s production “Discovery Project Earth — Orbital Power Plant” in 2008. This project continues the work of the Space Based Solar Power Architecture Study (SBSPAS) which formally began in 2007.
- Service to the Space Community: Presented to Brian G. Marsden, in recognition of his having served as Director (now Director Emeritus) of the Minor Planet Center at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) at Harvard since 1978, and his 31 years as the director of C.B.A.T. (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) from 1968 to 1999. In the future, we hope that we will be able to mine useful materials from the right type of asteroids, so the results of his work is of great interest to the space community as well as the astronomical community.
- Historic Space Achievement: Presented to Russell L. Schweickart for his service to the nation and the space program with his participation in the Historic Apollo 9 mission, which included the first use of the Lunar Module — the first purely in-space manned vehicle. He is also recognized for his current and vital work in creating awareness of the risk of asteroid impact, and assisting in finding practical ways of dealing with this threat with his creation of the B612 Foundation and many other initiatives..
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. David C. Webb for his longtime efforts in support of economical access to space, his crucial role in the creation of the International Space University and many other projects.
The 2009 Chris Pancratz Space Activist of the Year Award was presented to Joshua Powers. He was recognized for the huge amount of work he has performed for the NSS during the past few years, including: being an extremely dedicated secretary, as the Downlink editor, as the former Ad Astra online editor, Chairing the 2008 DC ISDC conference, and providing timely and critical assistance with programming for the 2009 ISDC.
The NSS Grand Prize for the 2009 NSS / NASA-Ames Space Settlement Design Contest was awarded to Eric Yam of Toronto, Canada, for his presentation and settlement design ASTEN. Eric’s design is of a large cylindrical structure at GEO that supports hundreds of inflatable habitat modules similar to Bigelow’s, each of which allows movement in 4 directions to the 4 neighboring modules. Photo shows Eric receiving the award from Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin.