TYSONS CORNER, VA — Oct. 16, 2023 — The SpaceNews Icon Awards will be awarded at a luncheon ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel at the Wharf in Washington, D.C., Tues., Dec. 5. Announced live at the event and in the December issue of SpaceNews, the SpaceNews Icon Awards recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and companies in the global space community.

First awarded in 2017, and widely recognized as a prestigious honor in the space community, the Icon Awards are selected by the SpaceNews editorial staff together with a voting panel of previous years’ winners for the following categories:

  • Startup of the Year
  • Deal of the Year
  • Commercial Space Achievement of the Year
  • Civil Space Achievement of the Year
  • Space Stewardship Award
  • Unsung Hero
  • Military Space Organization of the Year

Past winners include a prominent cross section of the global space industry. Winners have represented national space agencies including the European Space Agency as well as Mimi Aung of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for her work on NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter. Heritage commercial space players Airbus, Iridium, and SpaceX have been honored as well as innovating newcomers Astroscale, Planet, and Rocket Lab. SpaceNews has also recognized the efforts of those whose mission is to give back, including the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship and the Brooke Owens Fellowship.

Following the awards announcement, the event will feature a VIP keynote speaker. Past event speakers have included U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, U.S. Space Force Gen. John J. Raymond and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

This year, we are pleased to announce that U.S. Space Force Col. Richard Kniseley, the head of Space Systems Command’s Commercial Space Office (COMSO), will deliver the keynote address at the SpaceNews 2023 Icon Awards on Dec. 5 in Washington. 

Under the leadership of Col. Kniseley, COMSO fosters Space Force collaboration with the commercial space sector. With outposts in Los Angeles and Chantilly, Virginia, COMSO’s bi-coastal team of about 90 professionals evaluates commercial space capabilities for the Department of Defense. Their focus is on optimizing defense requirements by leveraging the dynamism of the commercial space industry while reducing costs.

Col. Kniseley will accept a 2023 SpaceNews Icon Award on behalf of COMSO, selected by SpaceNews journalists as the Military Space Organization of the Year for 2023. The award recognizes the significant contributions made by Col. Kniseley and his team in reshaping the military space landscape.

And to close on an exceptional two-hour program, SpaceNews editor-in-chief Brian Berger and staff writers Jeff Foust, Sandra Erwin, Jason Rainbow, and Debra Werner will speak with some of this year’s winners discussing where we’ve been in 2023 and offering insight on where space is headed in 2024.

“The SpaceNews Icon Awards hold profound significance and there is no one more relevant than SpaceNews’ award-winning editorial team to identify success. In an era of transformative change within the space industry, the anticipation of recognizing this year’s honorees is truly exciting,” said Paige McCullough, vice president of business development and event director.

The enhanced 6th iteration of the SpaceNews Icon Awards will have all the elements for a meaningful afternoon celebrating achievements in industry including an elegant luncheon and lively cocktail hour, as well as dialogue, content, and networking unique to those in the room, all taking place at the opulent InterContinental Hotel with breathtaking views of the Washington skyline alongside the Potomac River in D.C.’s newly reinvigorated Wharf district.

Visit www.spacenewsawards.com for event updates and to purchase tickets.

About SpaceNews

Founded in 1989, SpaceNews is the world’s preeminent space media brand on a revenue, audience-size, and volume-of-original content basis. Published across web, social, print, newsletter, and event channels, SpaceNews numbers an audience of some 1,200,000 web visitors monthly, plus an audience of over 150,000 social media followers across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. All metrics are by far the largest of any space trade media brand. Editorially, SpaceNews’s award-winning journalists are widely considered the most credible and experienced in the $130 billion+ space business, and our daily email newsletters are read by a who’s-who of space industry professionals and recognized as the most authoritative in the industry.  

Media Inquiries, Advertising, Sponsorships, and Partnerships

Paige McCullough, pmccullough@spacenews.com, or +1 571 278 4090
Kamal Flucker, kflucker@spacenews.com, or +1 612-226-6284

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