The AAS Molly K. Macauley Award

The AAS Molly K. Macauley Award seeks to support and recognize future space industry leaders by awarding grants to a set of outstanding college and university students. Five finalists and one winner will be selected for each of two tracks: Business and Space Policy; and Science and Engineering. All ten finalists are provided with a $500 travel award, free registration to the annual AAS von Braun Symposium, and the opportunity to present their research as a poster at the Symposium. (The 2023 von Braun Symposium will take place October 25-27 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.) The two winners will receive an additional $2,500 award toward attendance at any future conference that includes topics related to the author’s paper’s subject. The two winners are also invited and expected to make a 10 to 15-minute oral presentation at the von Braun Symposium.

The AAS Molly K. Macauley Award, created in 2019, is named for Molly Macauley, a national leader in environmental economics who helped for many years to establish, lead, and guide research projects combining economics with space research. Her fields of interest and goals were broad, including space related renewable energy, new technologies and natural resources, and helping decision makers understand the economics of space. Molly was tragically murdered in 2016 while out walking her dogs. Her murder is still unsolved today.

Past Winners

2023:

David McCord, Macauley Award winner for the Business and Space Policy track, recognized for his paper: Europe’s Galileo: New Avenues for Diplomatic and Commercial Cooperation, at the 2023 von Braun Space Exploration  Symposium.

Video of David McCord’s presentation.

Kanak Parmar, Macauley Award winner for the Science and Engineering track, recognized for her paper: Towards Development of a Multi-Component Machine Learning Framework for End-to-End Autonomous Spacecraft Optical Navigation, at the 2023 von Braun Space Exploration Symposium.

Video of Kanak Parmar’s presentation.

The award was not presented in 2021 or 2022.

2020:

Hang Woon Lee, Macauley Award winner for the Business and Space Policy track, presents his paper: Regional constellations as alternative business strategy: Overcoming startups’ challenges in the space-based communications industry, at the 2020 Glenn Symposium.

Video of Hang Woon Lee’s presentation

Dennis Nikitaev, Macauley Award winner for the Science and Engineering track, presents his paper: A Laboratory Test To Evaluate Seeded Hydrogen In A Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engine, at the 2020 Glenn Symposium.

Video of Dennis Nikitaev’s presentation

2019:

Josh Wolny, Macauley Award winner for the Business and Space Policy track, presents his paper: Policy Challenges to Addressing the Space Debris Threat, at the inaugural Glenn Symposium.

Video of Josh Wolny’s presentation

Miguel Ramirez, Macauley Award winner for the Science and Engineering track, presents his paper: A virtual laboratory framework to model and predict mechanical performance of advanced composite forms and short fiber composites, at the inaugural Glenn Symposium.

Video of Miguel Ramirez’s presentation