Press Release

American Astronautical Society Award Winners Announced

By SpaceRef Editor
March 29, 2022
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SPRINGFIELD, VA (March 29, 2022) – The American Astronautical Society (AAS) is pleased to
announce the most recent winners of many of its prestigious awards. AAS presents several
annual awards for meritorious accomplishments during the previous year or for contributions
not previously honored by an AAS award recognition.

“AAS is excited to recognize these teams and individuals for their significant contributions and
accomplishments,” said Jim Way, AAS Executive Director. “Each award recipient has made great
strides in advancing space exploration and is incredibly deserving of these honors.”

The 2021 AAS award winners are as follows:

  • The AAS Space Flight Award to an individual whose outstanding efforts and
    achievements have contributed most significantly to the advancement of space flight
    and space exploration, recognizes Tory Bruno, President and Chief Executive Officer of
    United Launch Alliance. Under Tory Bruno’s leadership, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is
    shaping the future of space launch by making it more affordable and accessible. Over
    the past 30 years, Tory has managed and initiated critical defense and space launch
    programs that form the backbone of modern infrastructure and provide a foundation
    for the expansion of future space capabilities. The Space Flight Award is the highest
    award bestowed by the AAS.

  • The AAS Neil Armstrong Space Flight Achievement Award, for outstanding
    achievement as flight crew, flight crew member or team, recognizes the Human
    Exploration Development and Operations Office, Payload and Mission Operations
    Division, for their contributions to human spaceflight as the payload and science
    operations team for the International Space Station (ISS). This team has been responsible for the integrated science operations onboard ISS for over 20 years to the
    benefit of all humankind and the advancement of human exploration missions.

  • The AAS Carl Sagan Memorial Award, to an individual who has demonstrated
    leadership in research or policies advancing exploration of the Cosmos, recognizes
    Nicola Fox, Heliophysics Division Director in the NASA Science Mission Directorate, for
    her demonstrated leadership in the field of heliophysics with extensive project,
    program, and supervisory experience.

  • The AAS Patti Grace Smith Award for significant contribution to growth of young
    professionals in the space industry, recognizes Gregg Barton, Principal Member,
    Technical Staff at Draper for his excellent support of young professionals as Group Lead
    of the Earth, Moon, Mars Guidance, Navigation, & Control group at Draper’s Houston
    office. He has hired, mentored, and nurtured multiple young professionals into strategic
    leadership roles within the human spaceflight community in support of NASA Johnson
    Space Center.

  • The AAS Sally Ride Excellence in Education Award to an outstanding educator in either
    the delivery of space education or the use of space in STEM education recognizes
    Michael Drews, Program Manager at Lockheed Martin, for his conceptualization,
    development, and implementation of a multi-generational event, Student Career Arcs to
    Professional Engineers (STEM-SCAPE) conference, which has reached over 720 students
    since 2015. His vision and actions have led numerous students to pursue and fulfill STEM
    education and careers.

  • The AAS Earth Science and Applications Award for outstanding achievement in Earth or
    Environmental Sciences, recognizes the Geostationary Lightning Mapper Instrument
    Team for providing a novel and unique observational capability that has directly
    contributed to the nations weather forecasting by improving severe weather
    observations, predictions, and warning lead-times, and having created new
    interdisciplinary research opportunities for the Earth and planetary sciences.

  • The AAS Industrial Leadership Award to an individual in the space industry who has
    made an outstanding contribution through leadership in development and acquisition of
    space systems, recognizes Jennifer H. Wright, Ascent Element Mission Operations Lead
    at Lockheed Martin Space for her leadership as Ascent Element Mission Operations
    Lead within the National Team Human Landing System (HLS).

  • The AAS Space Entrepreneurship Award which recognizes the successful introduction of
    new technologies and production methods into the market by entrepreneurs, is
    awarded to Daniel Faber, Founder and CEO of Orbit Fab, for his exceptional leadership
    in space infrastructure, with the goal to bring about the first permanent jobs in space
    and a bustling in-space economy. His founding Deep Space Industries created and commercialized the technology necessary for mining asteroids.

  • The AAS Space Technology Award that recognizes an outstanding achievement in space
    technology is awarded to Christopher McLean of Ball Aerospace for his technical
    leadership across groundbreaking programs at Ball Aerospace, and for his contributions
    to the profoundly unique Green Propellant Infusion Mission, which successfully
    deployed a non-toxic monopropellant providing longer mission durations, additional
    maneuverability, increased payload volume, and simplified Space Vehicle launch
    processing compared to hydrazine.

Full awards information is available at

About AAS

The American Astronautical Society leads and advances the discussion around space. Since
1954, AAS has been the premier network of current and future space professionals dedicated to
advancing all space activities. The Society has long been recognized for the excellence of its
national symposia, technical conferences, and publications and for its impact on shaping the
U.S. space program. AAS members have opportunities to meet and connect with leaders in the
space industry to exchange information and ideas, discuss career aspirations, and expand their
knowledge and expertise. 

SpaceRef staff editor.