The annual NewSpace Awards Gala, hosted by the Space Frontier Foundation, is held in conjunction with the annual NewSpace Conference. There are seven award categories in which SFF’s Advocates can nominate candidates, and then the nominees are voted upon by the Board of Directors:
Vision to Reality Award: This award is for outstanding achievement in the development and operation of a device, system, or entity that forwards the opening of the Space Frontier. The winners must actually have “pulled one off,” that is, they must have succeeded in reaching their goal. Good ideas, business plans, or anything requiring “unobtainium” don’t count. Qualified achievements must have taken place within the 12 months prior to call for nominations. The first winners in 1993 were the founders of the International Space University which is still an operating institution. Dennis Tito took the award in 2001 for becoming world’s first citizen space explorer. In 2004, Burt Rutan accepted the Award on behalf of the team at Scaled Composites for flying the first private human-piloted spaceship into space. Other past winners include the Clementine team, SpaceHab, Inc., Celestis, Inc., Space Launch and XCOR Aerospace. 2009’s winner was SpaceX for Falcon 1’s success, and 2010’s winner was Masten Space Systems for winning the Lunar Lander Challenge.
- Pioneer of NewSpace Award: This award is for an individual who was an early leader and pioneer in the creation of the NewSpace industry, and who has left a lasting legacy either through their own personal investment or the creation of an early NewSpace business enterprise. Courtney Stadd received the first award in 2006, followed by David Hannah in 2007. 2009’s winner was Dr. Pete Worden, and 2010’s winner was Art Dula.
Vision of the Future Award: This award is for outstanding achievement in presenting the possibilities of the Space Frontier to the general public. It is awarded to a future-oriented, entertainment, media-related project (i.e. film, TV, radio), primarily the science fiction genre. An example is the award going to the team at OmniMax for their movie, “L5: Cities in Space.” Other past award winners include the creative team of “Babylon V” for using a derivative of an O’Neill colony as its base, and their consistent attempts to portray life in space in a realistic manner, and to the folks at “Deep Space Nine” for their depiction of a solar sail in action. “Star Trek” won in 2009 for space elevator-equivalent mining machines, space diving, etc. Nominees for the award must have been “released” within the 12 months prior to the call for nominations. Old movies don’t qualify. 2010’s winner was the film “Moon” and was accepted by Director Duncan Jones, and 2012’s was “Live Free or Die (Troy Rising)” by bestselling author John Ringo.
- Best Presentation of Space Award: For outstanding achievement in highlighting past and present events in space exploration and development. It is awarded for excellence in non-fiction efforts such as documentaries and other projects to inform and enlighten the public. Recipients of this award include “Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D,” “Black Sky: The Race for Space,” Apogee Books, Andrew Chaikin, author of “A Man on the Moon,” and Clark Lindsay for HobbySpace. 2008’s winner was “Orphans of Apollo,” 2009’s winner was Vanna Bonta’s “The Universe: Sex In Space,” and 2010’s winner was Ben Higginbotham’s Spacevidcast show.
- NewSpace Journalism Award: For outstanding achievement in journalism that is especially NewSpace focused. This award has gone to Jeff Foust, Alan Boyle of MSNBC, and Dr. David Livingston of The Space Show. 2009’s winner was Charles Lurio for The Lurio Report and 2010’s winner was Miles O’Brien’s This Week In Space.
- Service to the Frontier Award: This award calls upon the Foundation’s Advocates to look amongst themselves for outstanding achievement in volunteer service to the Space Frontier Foundation. What have been some significant Advocate projects during the past year? Who would you acknowledge for stepping up to advance the Foundation’s mission in a significant way? Outstanding Advocates who have received recognition previously include Charles Miller, Ed Wright, Brook Mantia, Erin Medlicott, Robert Noteboom, Mike Heney, Rich Pournelle, Robin Snelson and Vanna Bonta. 2008’s winner was Vanna Bonta for The Cosmos Review, and 2009’s winner was Jack Kennedy.
- Founder’s Award: The “Founders’ Award” is the only award that is not voted on by the Board of Directors, but instead decided by the three Founders. It is awarded directly to the recipient at the NewSpace Awards Gala.