WASHINGTON – NASA’s International Space Station Program has won the
2009 Collier Trophy, which is considered the top award in aviation.
The National Aeronautic Association in Washington bestows the award
annually to recognize the greatest achievement in aeronautics or
astronautics in America.
The association says it selected the station “for the design,
development, and assembly of the of the world’s largest spacecraft,
an orbiting laboratory that promises new discoveries for mankind and
sets new standards for international cooperation in space.”
“We are very proud to receive the Collier Trophy,” NASA Administrator
Charles Bolden said. “This prestigious award is a testament to the
dedication and hard work of thousands of people around the world.
With our intention to extend station operations to at least 2020,
there are limitless possibilities for science and technological
The station is a joint project of NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the
European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the
Russian Federal Space Agency. The orbiting laboratory is nearing
completion and will mark the tenth anniversary of a continuous human
presence in orbit later this year.
“We’re honored to be recognized for our past achievements for building
and operating the space station, and we’re excited about the future,”
said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Space
Operations Mission Directorate. “There’s a new era ahead of potential
groundbreaking scientific research aboard the station.”
Congress designated the space station a national laboratory in 2005.
The station provides a research platform that takes advantage of the
microgravity conditions 220 miles above Earth’s surface across a wide
variety of fields. These include human life sciences, biological
science, human physiology, physical and materials science, and Earth
and space science.
After completion of assembly later this year, the station’s crew and
its U.S., European, Japanese and Russian laboratory facilities will
expand the pace of space-based research to unprecedented levels.
Nearly 150 experiments are under way on the station. More than 400
experiments have been conducted since research began nine years ago.
These experiments already are leading to advances in the fight
against food poisoning, new methods for delivering medicine to cancer
cells and the development of more capable engines and materials for
use on Earth and in space.
Supporting an international crew of six, the station has a mass of
almost 800,000 pounds and a habitable volume of more than 12,000
cubic feet. It is approximately the size of a five-bedroom home. The
station uses state-of-the-art systems to generate solar electricity,
recycle nearly 85 percent of its water and generate much of its own
oxygen. Nearly 190 people have visited the station, which is
supporting its 22nd resident crew.
The award will be formally presented to the International Space
Station Program team on May 13. The trophy is named for Robert J.
Collier, a publisher who commissioned it in 1910 with the intent to
encourage the U.S. aviation community to strive for excellence and
achievement in aeronautic development.
For more information about the Collier Trophy, visit:
For more information about the space station, visit: