Press Release

AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala to Confer Top Honors

By SpaceRef Editor
March 23, 2021
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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has announced the 2021 recipients of its most prestigious awards. Presentation of these premier awards will take place on Thursday, 12 August 2021, at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala. This will be a virtual event.


The AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala is an annual event recognizing the most influential and inspiring individuals in aerospace, whose outstanding contributions merit the highest accolades.


“Congratulations to our premier award winners,” said AIAA President Basil Hassan. “We are inspired by their hard work, skill, and achievements, and we thank them for their dedication to the aerospace industry. AIAA is committed to ensuring that aerospace professionals are recognized and celebrated for their achievements, innovations, and discoveries that make the world safer, more connected, more accessible, and more prosperous. I’m excited to recognize these trailblazers at the virtual AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala in August!”


The winners are:


AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award – Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, U.S. Air Force (retired)


AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award – Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company


AIAA Distinguished Service Award – Merri J. Sanchez, The Aerospace Corporation


AIAA International Cooperation Award –

  • Michael Watkins, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Michael A. Gross, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Frank Flechtner, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
  • Albert Zaglauer, Airbus Defence and Space


AIAA Public Service Award – Marcia S. Smith,


AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award – Benjamin Jorns, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


AIAA Engineer of the Year – Humberto Silva III, Sandia National Laboratories


AIAA Educator Achievement Award –

  • Suzanne Banas, South Miami Middle Community School Miami, Florida
  • Leesa Hubbard, W.A. Wright Elementary, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee
  • Mark Westlake, Saint Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights, Minnesota


Read the Award Citations and the full release, here.

SpaceRef staff editor.