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February 3rd, 2017

Annual Award Recipients Named by the National Space Club and Foundation

The National Space Club & Foundation has announced their Annual Award Recipients—the Awards are selected by panels of experts from across the aerospace and defense industry, government and academia, and are a testament to the inspiring work of individuals across the United States.

The Awards will be presented at the 60th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner, taking place at the Washington Hilton Hotel on Friday, March 10, 2017.
The recipients are:

  • New Shepard Team will receive the Club's preeminent award, the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy. On November 23, 2015, led by Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin's fully reusable New Shepard human spaceflight vehicle made history by becoming the first rocket to ascend above the Karman line and successfully return to Earth for a vertical landing. This ground-breaking mission reached an altitude of 100.5 km (329,839 ft.) and achieved a maximum speed of Mach 3.72, before the rocket booster performed a gentle landing at its launch site, touching down at a speed of a mere 4.4 mph. The same booster made four subsequent flights in 2016 on January 22, April 2, June 19 and October 5, demonstrating reuse. These five New Shepard flights all took place from Blue Origin's private launch site in West Texas.
  • Evan Peaco, a junior studying Aerospace Engineering at University of Maryland, College Park is the recipient of our nation-wide search and competition for the Goddard Memorial Dinner Keynote Scholarship. Mr. Peaco was chosen from among 7080 candidates that submitted applications. The group was narrowed down to 110 students that submitted videos and from that group, six students were chosen for in-skype interviews. Mr. Peaco rose to the top of the competition with his strong academic record and experience in aerospace.  His impressive list of honors and accomplishments include being named a National Merit Scholar and receiving the school's prestigious Banneker/Key Scholarship. Mr. Peaco hopes to take his impressive list of achievements and apply them one day towards advancing the world's manned spaceflight capabilities, particularly to Mars or to the Moon.
  •  Dr. John B. Charles, Chief Scientist, of the NASA Human Research Program at Johnson Space Flight Center will be recognized with the Eagle Manned Mission Award for his demonstrated exceptional scientific leadership and international diplomacy in coordinating the multilateral human research science for the International Space Station (ISS) 1-year mission. Dr. Charles was able to facilitate the merger of research from five different Space Agencies into a single, multilateral human research portfolio. His significant efforts fostered cooperation and collaborations between research teams around the world overcoming many challenges in the area of human research, intellectual property, international law and medical privacy. Dr. Charles' efforts paved the way for more integrated international research that will yield beneficial knowledge on the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges long distance explorers may face as they venture beyond LEO.
  • Juno Mission Team will receive the Nelson B. Jackson Award. On July 4, 2016, the Juno spacecraft entered its first orbit of Jupiter, capturing the first ever images of the giant planet's poles and never before seen cyclones above the planet's cloud tops. Along with high-resolution imagery, Juno's advanced suite of instruments are gathering groundbreaking data on the planet's composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere. During its 37 mapping orbits, Juno will fly as close as 2,600 miles above the planet's clouds, before being deorbited into Jupiter's atmosphere. The Juno Mission Team members include: Dr. Scott Bolton, Principal Investigator, Southwest Research Institute; Rick Nybakken, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Ed Hirst, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Dr. Steve Levin, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Sammy Kayali, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Phil Morton, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Dr. Jack Connerney, Goddard Space Flight Center; Tim Gasparrini, Lockheed Martin; Jeff Lewis, Lockheed Martin; Kevin Rudolph, Lockheed Martin; Doug Bernard, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Jan Chodas, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • Dr. Daniel T. Lindsey, Federal Research Meteorologist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric, Administration/NESDIS will receive the NOAA - David Johnson Award for his innovative contributions to the exploitation of satellite imagery, from super rapid-scan imaging to the visualization of simulated cloud and moisture imagery of high impact environmental phenomena ranging from severe local storms to tropical cyclones. His near real-time demonstrations of the capabilities of the new generation of geostationary satellites at the NOAA Testbeds and Proving Grounds is paving the way for the transition of highly valued applications into the forecaster operational environment.
  • Dr. Marc Rayman, Dawn Deputy Project Manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will receive the Astronautics Engineer Award for his leadership as Chief Engineer of the Dawn development program and flight mission to explore Vesta and Ceres. In July 2011, Dawn orbited Vesta and became the first spacecraft to orbit a body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. With the successful rendezvous in March 2015 with Ceres, Dawn became the first mission to reach a Dwarf Planet. As the first spacecraft to orbit any two solar system destinations, Dawn is the first interplanetary spaceship.
  • Andy Weir, author, "The Martian" will receive the Press Award in recognition of the significant contribution he made to public awareness of the challenges and rewards of human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. His book, The Martian and the major motion picture based on it, captured the public's imagination and elevated the global discussion about the exploration of our solar system and beyond.
  • Damon R. Wells, Director, Office of Police and Strategy, National Reconnaissance Office will receive the Dr. Joseph V. Charyk Award. Mr. Damon Wells' leadership assured the resiliency of National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) mission capabilities against all current and projected threats. He led the effort to define, prioritize, and implement the highest priority resiliency initiatives, from those requiring new research and development to those involving innovating operational concepts. He drove and oversaw multiple exercises and wargames to test NRO architecture resiliency, assuring remaining gaps were identified and addressed. The efforts of Mr. Wells have been fundamental to assuring future NRO mission capability, through all phases of conflict, in support of warfighters and policy makers.
  • Beth Meade Leavitt, Physics and Astronomy Teacher, Wade Hampton High School will receive the Space Educator Award for creativity and dedication as a career space educator engaging, inspiring and educating students about the space frontier. She has been teaching at Wade Hampton High School in a variety of science fields since 1999, currently teaching AP and Honors Physics and Principles of Engineering.   In addition, she is Director of the FIRST Robotics Club, an after school group that builds real world skills in 3D design, machine tooling, wiring, and programming. Ms. Leavitt has taught numerous scientific workshops both locally and nationally and was a Top Ten Teacher of the Year in 2006. She was a semi-finalist for NASA Educator in Space in 2004 and she is a member of the NASA Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers, NEAT.
  • Aditi Krishni Shetty, Student, Montgomery Blair High School, Kensington, MD is the winner of the Olin Teague Scholarship for the continuation of an ongoing effort to use impact basins on Mars to glean information about its early geologic history. Specifically, this project aimed to produce a complete catalog of craters down to 200 kilometers in diameter and can be used to relatively date the 32 largest impact basins on Mars' surface, all greater than 1000km in diameter. Using this method, basins with more superimposed smaller craters are assumed older than those with fewer overlaid impacts. These results help in understanding the geologic events in Earth's celestial neighborhood early on in the solar system's history.
  • Neale Van Stralen, Aeronautical Engineering Student, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, is the winner of the Goddard Memorial Scholarship. Mr. Van Stralen is awarded the scholarship to support his continued education and research into the design of Aerospace Structures necessary for the interplanetary transportation of humans.

Individuals and organizations interested in attending the 60th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner on Friday, March 10, 2017 at the Washington Hilton, may find more information on our website spaceclub.org.