Commercial Spaceflight Federation Recognizes Record Year With First-Ever Commercial Space Leadership Awards

Press Release From: Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is excited to announce the winners of its Inaugural Commercial Space Leadership Awards, which seek to recognize the leading innovators, investors, educators, journalists, and policymakers for their significant contributions to the success of the commercial space enterprise. The United States is undergoing a renaissance in space, with the commercial industry playing a leading role. Animated by a reinvigorated entrepreneurial spirit, 2018 marked a record year for commercial space and we are excited to see all that 2019 will hold. The 2018 winners are:

The Patti Grace Smith STEM Award Winner: Dr. Steven Collicott
Dr. Steven Collicott, Purdue University Professor of the School of Aeronautics & Astronautics, is recognized for his leadership as an educator committed to scientific excellence and the expansion of knowledge for the next generation of commercial space pioneers. Dr. Collicott is also the chair of the Suborbital Applications Research Group which has made significant headway in expanding funding for integral programs, such as Flight Opportunities, and has advocated for the importance of suborbital research. Dr. Collicott has inspired students from 2nd grade through post graduate levels, helping them to reach for the stars by designing, producing, and sending experiments into microgravity environments. 

Excellence in Commercial Space Journalism Award: Rachel Crane
Rachel Crane, CNN Innovation and Space Reporter, is recognized for her leadership as a member of the media who has published important pieces on commercial space, meaningfully contributing to the expansion of public awareness of commercial space, also demonstrating the highest levels of journalistic integrity. Crane creates original video content to be shown across CNN's platforms, including the original series, City of Tomorrow, which highlights innovations in cities around the world, Elon Evolution, which explores the greatest problems plaguing the globe with Elon Musk, and Pioneers with Rachel Crane, which profiles the great minds who are pushing the boundaries of human achievement. She came to CNN from Bloomberg, where she was a technology and innovation correspondent. Crane has a long history covering innovation, interviewing SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Virgin's Richard Branson, famed futurist and Google's director of engineering Ray Kurzweil, and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. 

Commercial Space Pioneer Award Winner: SpaceX 
SpaceX is recognized for their outstanding technical contributions over the past year that have advanced the technologies and business of enabling commercial access to space. In 2018, SpaceX successfully launched twenty-one missions, surpassing its previous annual launch record for a commercial company. Missions included a successful test launch of their Falcon Heavy launch vehicle, critical cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), national security payloads, and commercial satellites. In addition, SpaceX significantly improved orbital launch reusability technologies, recovering boosters 26 times in landings. They have also been involved in the creation of high-speed internet satellite constellation, and made progress on its commercial crew Dragon capsule and interplanetary Starship. 

Commercial Space Policy Award Winner: Jim Bridenstine 
Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator, is recognized for his leadership as a policymaker who has made significant and lasting contributions over the past year to the advancement of commercial space policy. Bridenstine has been an advocate of the commercial space industry throughout his career and has brought both fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the role of NASA Administrator. He is a great supporter of the entire space industry and works tirelessly to ensure the US remains a leader in science and space technology on a global level.   

Commercial Space Business & Finance Award Winner: The late Paul Allen
Paul Allen, Stratolaunch founder and Ansari XPrize SpaceShipOne financier, is posthumously recognized for his business and financial leadership in commercial space activities that benefited the industry as a whole. Allen founded Stratolaunch and financed the Tier One project that won the Ansari X Prize with SpaceShipOne, which led to broad investment in a new generation of space technology entrepreneurs. 

“Congratulations to the stellar group of winners whose contributions were critical in establishing 2018 as a milestone year for the commercial space industry,” said Taber MacCallum, CSF Chairman and Co-Founder and CTO of World View.

Winners will be recognized at the Commercial Space Transportation Conference Luncheon on February 13th, 2019, in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with a keynote address by Virgin Orbit President and CEO, Dan Hart. Click here for agenda and registration information.

“CSF established these awards to recognize the accomplishments and commitments by individuals and companies that have led to the commercial space industry’s continued success,” said CSF President Eric Stallmer. “The overwhelming support for this annual recognition was realized by the vast number of nominations we received. We are thrilled to have established the new awards and look forward to continuing the collective recognition of critical industry accomplishments that have advanced the democratization of space for all.”  

Nominations were submitted by CSF members, and winners were chosen by a panel of judges consisting of its members representing all levels of CSF membership. This year’s winners and all future winners will be inducted in the new CSF Commercial Space Hall of Fame.

About CSF: The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is the leading voice for the commercial spaceflight industry. Founded in 2006, CSF and its 80+ members are laying the foundation for a sustainable space economy and democratizing access to space for scientists, students, civilians, and businesses. CSF members are responsible for the creation of thousands of high-tech jobs driven by billions of dollars in investment. Through the promotion of technology innovation, CSF is guiding the expansion of Earth's economic sphere, bolstering U.S. leadership in aerospace, and inspiring America's next generation of engineers and explorers.

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