Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History
The Ordway Award is named in memory of Frederick I. Ordway III (1927-2014), human spaceflight advocate and chronicler of the history of rocketry and space travel. The award recognizes exceptional, sustained efforts to inform and educate on spaceflight and its history through one or more media, including (1) writing, editing, or publishing, (2) preparation and/or presentation of exhibits; or (3) production for distribution through film, television, art, or other non-print media. The award is managed by the AAS History Committee.
Deadline for nominations is July 1.
RECIPIENTS – 2020
Bill Ingalls is recognized for sustained excellence in memorializing milestones in U.S. space programs and policy through his artistically crafted photographic images.
Bill has been a photographer based at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC since 1989. He has traveled the world photographing space events. His assignments have taken him from the Oval Office to the hearing rooms of Capitol Hill; from hot and humid Kennedy Space Center to the brutally cold Kazakh steppes, recording U.S. and Russian launches and landings; and from marking the tragedy of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident to capturing the exaltation of landing the Curiosity rover on Mars. Bill has photographed some of our country’s most historic moments in space, including the first launch in 1995 of a U.S. astronaut on a Russian rocket, the final landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis in July 2011, the 2012 burial at sea of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong, and the recent launch and return to Earth of the first American astronauts to go into orbit from U.S. territory since 2011.
Bill’s photographs, in addition to recording key moments in space history, have consistently had high aesthetic content. They have appeared in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, and books throughout the world, including National Geographic, Time, The Washington Post, Fortune, People, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as on television broadcasts. One of Ingalls’ NASA colleagues recently commented “Bill is so much more than a photographer, he’s a storyteller. Bill takes us on this amazing journey of spaceflight through this camera lens, whether it’s the beauty and power of a launch or the exhaustion and excitement of an astronaut’s return home. He’s able to turn the vastness of space into very intimate moments. It’s a special talent.”
Roger D. Launius, Ph.D., is recognized for sustained excellence as a prolific scholar, author, and advocate of space history.
First as Chief Historian for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (1990-2002) and then as Curator, Space History Department Chair, and Associate Director for Research and Collections at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (2002-2017), Roger Launius has had a formative influence on the history of aerospace technology, science, practice, and policy as a professional field. He is a well-known author of books and articles for both the scholarly and popular presses, and a frequently quoted expert in the print and electronic media.
Launius has reached even wider audiences through developing television programs with The Great Courses and The Smithsonian Channel, lecturing across the nation and abroad, and offering on-campus seminars. He has for many years been the leading promoter of the discipline of space history through his encouragement of other scholars, mentoring graduate students through research projects and internships, and making space history a visible activity in relevant historical societies. He helped establish new journals and new book series to create channels for space history scholarship, and he organized various space history forums and symposia to create a community of scholars to further this discipline. While attending to the growth of space history as a professional field, he also nurtured its spread into the popular domain, especially through exhibitions and public programs at the world’s premier air and space museum.
Roger Launius can fairly be called the staunchest and most influential advocate for space history as a field of research, publication, and public impact. His career has vastly enriched our understanding of humanity’s movement into space.
The University of Nebraska Press is recognized for its Outward Odyssey Series (A Personal History of Spaceflight) documenting key topics in the history of spaceflight
The University of Nebraska Press began publishing the Outward Odyssey Series (Series Editor, Colin Burgess) in 2007. These popular histories place equal emphasis on Soviets and Americans and give priority to people over technology and nationalism. They focus on the early rocket experimenters, the astronauts and cosmonauts, and the engineers and scientists, who changed forever their world and ours.
The University of Nebraska Press has produced a steady stream of well-researched, readable volumes on a wide variety of topics in spaceflight history. As of 2020, there have been nineteen (19) titles in the Outward Odyssey Series. A number of them were finalists for the AAS Emme Award for Spaceflight Literature and one title (Ambassadors from Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft by Jay Gallentine) received the Emme Award in 2009.
The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project (VMMEPP) is recognized for preservation of archives and artifacts associated with the Viking missions to Mars and educational outreach using the Viking missions as a STEM catalyst.
As the United States continues on its path to the human exploration of Mars, with the recent launch of the Perseverance rover and plans for the Orion Program, the work of VMMEPP is critical in establishing the legacy upon which we are building. It also serves to capture the imagination and keep the fires of interest burning amongst the generation that will bring the dream to fruition.
The Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project (VMMEPP) was founded in 2008 dedicated to global education with a special focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), collaborative learning, and international cooperation under the guidance of Project Director Rachel Tillman. The VMMEPP is focused on preserving the history, artifacts, original documents, and data from the Viking Missions to Mars, inspiring current and future leaders and thinkers, and instilling collaboration and equity into missions of tomorrow. In addition, VMMEPP has conducted hundreds of oral history interviews (audio and video) with individuals who were involved in the Viking Mission. This is reflected in their motto of “Inspire—Educate—Collaborate.”
RECIPIENTS – 2019
Univelt is recognized for sustained excellence in documenting space history through production of AAS publications.
Robert H. Jacobs and his father, Horace Jacobs, have provided one of the great pillars of the space history community for sixty years. Their imprint, Univelt, has documented the proceedings of the American Astronautical Society almost since its inception. Their ongoing AAS History Series and the companion “Advances in the Astronautical Sciences” series, along with the “Science and Technology” series (1964-2013), represent a massive repository of space history information that beggars parallel. Without their effort, going all the way back to Horace’s work in the late 1950s, much of the character and detail of America’s space history would be lost. In many instances, the AAS publications represent the only remaining documentary evidence of many early American astronautical theories and studies. Due to Univelt’s later affiliation with the International Astronautical Federation’s history committee, the annual history publications represent one of the only global records of space history research, providing a truly international forum for the students of space history.
Dr. John M. Logsdon is recognized for sustained excellence in space policy analysis.
Dr. John M. Logsdon has spent a lifetime analyzing and recording space policy. Along the way, he founded and guided an educational institution dedicated to space policy and has written numerous award-winning books and articles on space policy and space history. He has continually encouraged and mentored graduate students and other budding historians and policy wonks. He has never been afraid to take an unpopular position on a space policy decision and provide the rationale and documentation for that position. Dr. Logsdon’s dedication has greatly strengthened the field of space policy. Logsdon has been on the faculty of George Washington University since 1970 and is currently a professor emeritus of political science and international affairs. He was the founder, and from 1987–2008 was the Director, of the Space Policy Institute at GWU. He has also served on the faculty of the International Space University. In 2003, Logsdon was a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, in charge of the team researching and analyzing space history and policy as it related to the loss of Columbia. In 2008-09, Logsdon served as the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. John is a prolific author of space policy analysis including The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (MIT Press, 1970). He was also the general editor of the seven-volume series Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program (NASA, 1995). More recently, he is the author of the award-winning John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), After Apollo? Richard Nixon and the American Space Program (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), and Ronald Reagan and the Space Frontier (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).
John Noble Wilford is recognized for sustained excellence in print journalism through his coverage of spaceflight activities.
John Noble Wilford has been one of the most ardent and articulate communicators of space science and exploration for decades from his perch at the venerable New York Times and in his independent writing. Wilford was a long-time science reporter and science correspondent, assistant national news editor, director of science news, and featured columnist at the New York Times. He is the author of thousands of columns and ten books, including the New York Times’ front-page story of the Apollo 11 landing (“Men Walk On Moon”). Wilford received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1984 for “reporting on a wide variety of scientific topics of national import.” He was also a member of the team that received the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for investigative coverage of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. Wilford’s career at the New York Times began in 1965. During his tenure, he covered the U.S. space program with a passion that ranged from thorough and objective reporting to poetic romanticism and a sense of the mythical, to occasional disappointment and criticism. He has always been insightful, with a command of language and verbal imagery takes readers to the heart of space exploration and its cultural significance.
RECIPIENTS – 2018
Dennis R. Jenkins is recognized for sustained excellence in documenting aviation and space history and in making US aerospace achievements accessible to the public. An aerospace engineer, manager, and author, Mr. Jenkins ranks among the most prolific of aviation and space historians. He has published more than 50 books on subjects as diverse as WWII fighters and bombers, hypersonic X-planes, launch facilities, Apollo 11, spacecraft re-entry systems, pressure suits, the space shuttle, and servicing the Hubble Space Telescope. His magnum opus is the three-volume definitive technical history, Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon, published in 2017 by Specialty Press. Mr. Jenkins’ written work is well informed by his hands-on experience as an engineer and project manager, his meticulous research, and his gift for writing intelligibly about technical matters for readers at various levels of familiarity with his subjects.
Ron Miller is recognized for sustained excellence in the field of space art and offering a tantalizing glimpse of the future. An accomplished and prolific space artist and author, Mr. Miller has provided a “bridge” between science fact and science fiction for over 40 years. He worked closely with Fred Ordway on the IBM exhibition and book, Blueprint for Space (Smithsonian Press, 1992), contributing a chapter to the book and recreating three missing Collier’s magazine paintings by Cheslet Bonestell. Mr. Miller’s richly illustrated books narrating both the possible futures and the past of space exploration have fueled the imagination of many future engineers, scientists and artists. In fact, one of the stamps he designed for the U.S. Postal Service in 1991 is credited with helping inspire the New Horizons mission to Pluto. The richness of his visions of space, built on his familiarity with the history of dreams of spaceflight, has allowed Mr. Miller to provide us with a glimpse of the future.
Miles O’Brien is recognized for sustained excellence in journalism through his coverage of spaceflight activities. Mr. O’Brien is a journalist, writer, and producer who has been a familiar face on television for more than 30 years. He has won a multitude of awards for science reporting, including four Emmys and a Peabody. Mr. O’Brien started his professional career in television in Washington DC, and spent a decade reporting for TV stations around the country before beginning a 16-year tenure as CNN’s space and aviation correspondent. He served as chair of the Education and Public Outreach Committee of NASA’s Advisory Council for three years. An accomplished pilot and scuba diver, O’Brien also serves on the boards of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, LessCancer.org, and the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation. For the last decade, Mr. O’Brien has been providing special reports for PBS News Hour and is one of the most respected voices in science journalism.
Recipients – 2017
- David Baker (Journalism) is recognized for a sustained excellence in space coverage, through books and articles, as well as engagement in the early US space program. Dr. Baker joined the space program during Apollo and worked to develop advanced concepts for keeping astronauts on the moon for extended periods of time. Later, Dr. Baker worked on development of NASA’s Space Shuttle and later, during the 1980s, to commercialize payloads and to integrate aerospace technologies in India and other Asian countries. Dr. Baker has written several hundred articles and more than 100 books on air and space histories, including The Rocket and The History of Manned Spaceflight. Dr. Baker appears regularly in electronic media and has been editor of Aerospace Review, Jane’s Aircraft Upgrades and Jane’s Space Directory. He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS), where he chairs the BIS Publications Committee, serves as Editor of Spaceflight and oversees publication of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. In 1986 Dr. Baker was elected as a member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). He received the 1998 Rolls-Royce Award for Aerospace Journalist of the Year.
- George S. James (Research) is recognized for sustained, active engagement in rocket research and related activities for over 70 years. Mr. James been active in the field of spaceflight, in many capacities, since 1943, when he founded the Glendale Research Society, which evolved into the Rocket Research Institute (RRI) Inc., in 1949. Trained in both engineering science and architecture, Mr. James includes study and work with the American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright before beginning work in the aerospace field. He worked at the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Laboratory (ABMA), at Redstone Arsenal, in Huntsville, Alabama as a member of Dr. Wernher von Braun’s engineering liaison staff and assistant technical editor during the development of the Redstone Missile. Mr. James spent several decades at the Aerojet-General Corporation, as well as the Aerojet Liquid Rocket Company (1953-1971). Mr. James also held positions at the California Institute of Technology under Dr. Clark Milliken; at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under Dr. Frank Malina and Dr. Howard Seifert; at the Aerojet Engineering Company Solid Propellant Division; and at the North American Aerophysics Laboratory. In 1971, Mr. James accepted the position of Program Coordinator at the National Air and Space Museum. In 1986, he was elected as a Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and later served as Chairman of the IAA History Committee. Mr. James has authored or co-authored well over 100 classified and unclassified technical papers.
- The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is recognized for sustained excellence in its work to preserve and process Lunar Orbiter imagery. LOIRP is a project established by Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing and funded by several companies and individuals, with major support from NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SERVI), Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD). The objective of the project was to digitize the original analog tapes (~1500) from the five (5) lunar orbiter spacecraft that visited the moon in 1966 and 1967. The LOIRP project site acquired the nickname “McMoons” due to its location in a former McDonald’s near the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California. Between 1966 and 1967 NASA sent five Lunar Orbiter spacecraft to the Moon. Images from these spacecraft were used by mission planners to select the Apollo landing sites on the moon. In the late 1960s, Lunar Orbiter analog tapes were placed in storage. In the mid-1980s, these tapes were transferred to JPL. Nancy Evans, co-founder of the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS), and Mark Nelson from Caltech, began a project to obtain surplus Ampex FR-900 tape drives, refurbish them, and digitize the analog data on the tapes. In 2007, LOIRP obtained the drives and tapes and began the digitization effort, which was completed in 2017. The image data was subsequently shared with PDS. Dennis Wingo currently oversees LOIRP activities and is planning a nationwide tour to exhibit LOIRP imagery and original Lunar Orbiter artifacts.
Recipients – 2016
- Charles Lundquist (Archivist) has been actively contributing to the dissemination and publication and preservation of space history since his retirement in 1999. Dr. Lundquist has been front-row witness to the American space program and continues actively working to save unique space history documents as Director of the Interactive Projects Office of The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
- Toni Myers’ (Audio/Visual) long association with large-format films began when she was assistant editor of Graeme Ferguson’s stunning multi-screen documentary for Montreal’s EXPO ’67, Polar Life. A key member of the IMAX space team that Ferguson assembled, Myers wrote and edited The Dream Is Alive (1985), Blue Planet (which she also narrated in 1990) and Destiny in Space (1994), and was co-producer and writer/editor of L5: First City in Space (1996) and Mission to Mir (1997). In 2002, Myers produced, wrote and edited the award-winning Space Station 3D, the first large-format 3D film to be shot in space. She followed with Hubble 3D (2010) and, most recently, A Beautiful Planet (2016). Myers is recognized for her documentation of spaceflight over the past 30+ years using large-format films to reach and inspire millions of viewers worldwide.
- Pat Rawlings (Artist) has been documenting the present and future of space exploration for more than 30 years. His art has appeared in hundreds of magazines, books, television programs and films in both in the US and abroad. Mr. Rawlings has been one of the most visible of all the modern space artists – probably rivaled only by the late Robert McCall. In addition to the work he has done within the aerospace industry, his art has appeared in countless public venues – by virtue of which he has been instrumental in inspiring enthusiasm and interest in both the past and future of spaceflight in the population at large.
- Frank H. Winter (Author) published his first article on rocket history in 1966, for which he received the Goddard Essay Award presented by the National Space Club. Mr. Winter has written several hundred articles and papers, and twelve books (and counting) on various historical aspects of rocket development and spaceflight, including most recently a history of Reaction Motors, Inc., which he co-authored with Fred Ordway. He is widely recognized for the quality of his research and unwavering devotion to his craft.
First Recipients – 2015
- Leonard David (Journalism) has been reporting on space exploration for over five decades. Throughout those years, his writings have appeared in numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and books, such as the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, Private Air, Sky and Telescope, Astronomy, SPACE.com and Space News newspaper, as well as Aerospace America and in supplemental writing for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. Mr. David has been a consultant to NASA, other government agencies and the aerospace industry. In the mid-1980’s he served as Director of Research for the National Commission on Space, a U.S. Congress/White House study that appraised the next 50 to 100 years of space exploration. Currently, Leonard is SPACE.com’s Space Insider Columnist, as well as a correspondent for Space News newspaper and a contributing writer for several magazines, such as Aerospace America, the membership publication of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Mr. David has created a website dedicated to a variety of space topics at http://www.leonarddavid.com/
- David Hardy (Artist) is the oldest continuously working space artist in the world. He created his first space art in 1950, when he was just 14 years old. Four years later, he illustrated the first of the many books he worked on with Patrick Moore. He began contributing art to Moore’s long-running television series, “Sky at Night,” in 1957—which he continues to do to the present day. In addition to the hundreds of magazines and books in which his art has appeared, he is the author/illustrator of more than half a dozen books of his own, including such classics as “Challenge of the Stars” (1972) and “Galactic Tours” (1981). He also wrote and compiled the first comprehensive history of space art, “Visions of Space (1989). A founding member of the International Association of Astronomical Artists, Hardy served as president in 1996 and is still a Fellow and Vice President for Europe. In 2002 he was awarded the IAAA’s Lucien Rudaux Memorial Award for his outstanding contributions to space art. In 2003 an asteroid was named “Davidhardy” in his honor.
- Quest – The History of Spaceflight (Publisher) has been published since 1992 and is currently the only peer-reviewed journal focused exclusively on spaceflight history. For nearly a quarter-century, Quest has published peer-reviewed articles, oral histories, and book reviews written by professional and amateur historians that have run the gamut of topics in spaceflight history, including technical discussions of both manned and unmanned vehicles, behind-the-scenes stories from people who’ve worked in the sector, and covered the people, programs, and politics of space. Quest has firmly established itself as the preeminent periodical on spaceflight history. Further information is available on their website, spacehistory101.com.
- Mark Wade (Web) started The Encyclopedia Astronautica website in 1994 as his personal web page. Friends and Partners in Space, founded to encourage informal exchanges between people interested in Russian space programs and international cooperation in space, hosted the website from 1996-2000. This coincided with declassification of material in the United States, Russia, and China, revealing a history of the space race completely different from that which was previously known. As the scope of the pages expanded to include space history in general, the traffic became too great for that organization to handle. The purpose of this website was to provide information on spaceflight history to a wide audience in a timely fashion, rather than awaiting the publication of formal histories, and preserving that information for future generations. The domain name astronautix.com was purchased in 2000 by Mark to provide a stable web address for the site, which he maintains and updates.