The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is excited to announce the winners of the 2020 Commercial Space Leadership Awards in recognition of leading innovators, investors, educators, journalists, and policymakers for their significant contributions to the success of the commercial space industry. The United States is undergoing a renaissance in space, and the commercial industry plays a pivotal role in this major transformation. 

The 2020 winners are:

Higher Orbits: The Patti Grace Smith STEM Award Winner: Higher Orbits is recognized for its leadership as an educator committed to scientific excellence and the expansion of knowledge for the next generation of commercial space pioneers. Higher Orbits has directly reached more than 1,200 students with an intensive 2-3 day program where kids, many underprivileged, are able to work with an Astronaut. They launched nine student experiments to the International Space Station and recently began flying student suborbital payloads. Higher Orbits plans to fly at least four more student experiments into space in 2020.

Christian Davenport: Excellence in Commercial Space Journalism Award: Christian Davenport, The Washington Post space reporter, is recognized for his reporting expertise and leadership in publishing pivotal articles and trend pieces on commercial space, further expanding public awareness of commercial space, while demonstrating the highest levels of journalistic integrity. Davenport’s seminal book, “The Space Barons,” is an outstanding example of Davenport’s years of reporting experience and access to the space companies created by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson, and their role in transforming the business of modern spaceflight. Davenport’s stories have had a significant impact on raising awareness  about the importance and advancement of the commercial space industry.

Virgin Galactic: Commercial Space Pioneer Award Winner: Virgin Galactic is recognized for their outstanding technical contributions over the past year that has advanced the technologies and business of enabling commercial access to space. In 2019, Virgin Galactic successfully flew the first flight from American soil on an American spacecraft with three people, the first such flight since 2011. The pilots of this flight were decorated with astronaut wings. In addition, Virgin Galactic went public with the first purely space tourism company with a successful IPO. Both of these successes mark major milestones for commercial space tourism and will raise the profile on the commercial space industry and the importance of democratizing space for all. 

The Honorable Martin Heinrich, U.S. Senator: Commercial Space Policy Award Winner:  Senator Martin Heinrich 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. Through his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Heinrich has been an influential voice and critical proponent of small satellite missions such as the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, the Space Test Program, the Space Vehicles Directorate, and the SMC Advanced Systems and Development Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base. Additionally, Senator Heinrich made significant contributions to the Senate NDAA on issues relating to commercial space launch, commercial spaceports, and the national security enterprise. 

NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Moon to Mars Team: Commercial Space Integration Award Winner: NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Moon to Mars team is recognized for its use of innovative commercial approaches to significantly advance the government’s objectives over the past year. The Advanced Exploration Systems Moon to Mars team have worked in an accelerated fashion to deliver on national priorities with commercial partnerships at the core of the program. In fulfilling Artemis program requirements with commercially developed and procured systems, the Advanced Exploration Systems Moon to Mars team has laid a fundamental foundation for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit to the Moon and beyond.

Dylan Taylor: Commercial Space Business & Finance Award: Dylan Taylor is recognized for his business and financial leadership in commercial space activities that has benefited the industry as a whole. Taylor is a leading investor, financier and benefactor of commercial space activities. Taylor is currently the Chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, a multi-national holding company focused directly on supporting the growth of commercial space. As a global business leader, philanthropist and pioneer in the space exploration industry, Taylor has invested in over 40 commercial space ventures since 2010, more than any other individual investor. He is also the founder of Space for Humanity, a global nonprofit dedicated to the democratization of space, which is widely considered one of the leading non-profits in the industry.

“Like no other field of endeavor, the exploration and development of space is the synergetic result of a diverse range of contributions,” said Taber MacCallum, CSF Chairman. “The Commercial Space Leadership Awards highlight contributions and accomplishments in creating a successful commercial space enterprise. It is an honor and quite humbling to recognize the accomplishments and success of this year’s winners.”

“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. “We continue to be impressed by the quantity and quality of the nominations that we received and by the outstanding achievements and great strides that have been made in this incredible industry that we have the privilege to work in.”

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 will be inducted in the new CSF Commercial Space Hall of Fame and recognized at the 23rd annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, DC on January 29 and 30.

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.