Finalists for the Sir Arthur Clarke Awards 2015 Announced


The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation and the British Interplanetary Society are pleased to announce the finalists for the eight Sir Arthur Clarke Awards for 2015.  All the finalists or their representatives have been invited to attend the UK Space Conference Gala Dinner and Awards in St George’s Hall, Liverpool on Tuesday 14 July 2015, where the winners will be announced and presented with their Awards.  The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards and the Award Ceremony are again sponsored by the UK Space Agency.

BIS-Logo-ArthursThe Sir Arthur Clarke Awards have been presented annually in the UK since 2005 to recognise and reward notable or outstanding achievements in, or contributions to, all space activities.

Nominations were invited on 2nd March 2015 from the general public and a nominations panel of senior representatives from industry, academia and education.  Nominations closed on 14 May 2015 and the judging panel selected up to three finalists, listed below, in each of the eight Award categories.

Though primarily designed to reward UK teams and individuals for their achievements over the past year, 2014-2015, the Awards, once again, include International and Lifetime Achievement categories. The final selection of the Award winners in each category was by secret ballot with the exception of the International Space Achievement Award which was selected by the Arthur C Clarke Foundation.

UKSAThe judging process was overseen and coordinated by Mrs. Suszann Parry, Executive Secretary of the British Interplanetary Society, of which Sir Arthur was an honoured member for many years.  As Chair of the Judging panel, Mrs. Angie Edwards, niece of Sir Arthur and UK Board Member of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation held the casting vote.

The 2015 Awards Categories are:

  1. Space Achievement – Industry/Project Team
  2. Space Achievement – Industry/Project Individual
  3. Space Achievement – Academic Study/Research
  4. Space Achievement – Education and Outreach
  5. Space Achievement – Student
  6. Space Achievement – Media, broadcast and written
  7. Space Achievement – Lifetime
  8. Space Achievement – International

A list of previous winners is available here.

The 2015 Finalists are:

1. Space Achievement – Industry/Project Team

The Beagle 2 Team, Industry and Academia
Beagle 2 was found on the Martian surface 11 years after being assumed lost, proving that the original calculations and engineering were spot on after all.  This mission was one solar panel away from being an outstanding success.  Images from NASA’s  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera show that Beagle-2 successfully landed in its intended landing ellipse on the surface of Mars on Christmas Day 2003 and began deploying its solar panels but only 3 (or perhaps 4) of the five panels opened thus preventing the probe from communicating with Earth.  The entry shield, parachutes, air bags and ancillary equipment and software that make up the Beagle-2 Entry, Descent & Landing System were a triumph of engineering, constrained by weight, development time and funding as well as the unforgiving Martian environment that had foiled half of all previous attempts to land there.

The XMM 4 Wheel Drive UK industry Team
ESA’s XMM-Newton is the world’s most powerful X-ray telescope. Designed for 10 years life, now aged 16 it is performing admirably but the fuel for attitude control would have run out in 2019.  Scientific demand is high and no replacement mission is foreseen before 2028.  An outstanding achievement has been the reworking of the on-board software to allow all four reaction wheels to run in parallel instead of running three as designed.  This halved fuel consumption and helped extend XMM’s life to 2030. The 4-Wheel Drive patch was commissioned successfully in late 2013 and has been running flawlessly since then.

Oxford Space Systems
Oxford Space Systems have developed a clever technology for deployable structures and persevered to the point where they have been selected for an ESA mission.  They have also supported the UK space industry at many events, showing them to be team players despite their small size.

2. Space Achievement – Industry/Project Individual

William Marshall, Planet Labs, San Francisco
He has gone via working on Lisa Pathfinder at Oxford University, to NASA Ames, to founding his own successful space company Planet Labs based in San Francisco.  His company has created an innovative combination of applying modern agile techniques to space hardware; a good business plan; but also with an altruistic aim of providing daily detailed images of the earth.  So whilst the company is based in the USA, William is an excellent example of what can be achieved by UK educated people within the global space industry.

Elon Musk, Space-X
For Falcon 9 and his work to recover first stage.

3. Space Achievement – Academic Study/Research

The Stardust Team, University of Strathclyde
Stardust, coordinated at Strathclyde University, is the first research and training network providing innovative, effective solutions to space debris and asteroid, two of the most challenging open problems in space engineering and science.

Addressing not a single aspect, but covering the problems in their full complexity incorporating new advanced modelling, cutting edge numerical simulations, innovative ways to predict the future evolution of objects and key advances on effective engineering solutions to manipulate/remove asteroids and space debris.

Academic led, but directly involving key players and decision makers from space industry: Airbus, Deimos, Telespazio, ESA – defining clear pathways to impact.

Prof. Massimiliano Vasile, University of Strathclyde
University of Strathclyde’s Space Institute is a visionary department led by Prof Massimiliano Vasile. His book “Computational Intelligence in Aerospace Sciences” is just out and he has instigated an outreach programme to increase the profile of space research within the wider community.

The architect of the Stardust Network, his legacy now encompasses multiple disciplines with a focus on saving Earth’s long term future. Space will be better known, protected for his contribution.

4. Space Achievement – Education and Outreach

Mike Grocott, The Space Studio School, Banbury
Mike Grocott is Principal of the new Space Studio School in Banbury, the first school in the country to have embedded space contexts throughout its curriculum. Having opened in September 2014 with 80 full-time students in Years 10 and 12 (expanding to 200 in 2015-16 when the next new cohorts are admitted), Mike has led all aspects of curriculum planning, staff and student recruitment and financial reporting to the Department of Education (DfE) during the 2013-14 academic year in his then-role of Principal Designate. Whilst now the principal, he maintains a significant teaching role in GCSE and A level physics, GCSE astronomy and in his support for ESA’s international education programme.

Having previously had a twelve year career worldwide with the Royal Navy, from the outset of his teaching career Mike has used his lifelong love of all matters astronomical and astronautical as successful contexts to enthuse and, more importantly, boost student attainment in classes from Years 7 to 13 (Key Stage 3 to A Level). His outstanding sustained performance resulted in him being awarded Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) status by DfE in 2005 in recognition of his outstanding teaching performance.  He single-handedly established a full-time astronomy support centre (the Callington Space Centre) at his last school in Cornwall in 2001 and has led international teacher training work in astronomy for the British Council and also with NASA’s Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers. Through Mike’s tireless efforts and enthusiasm, hundreds of his students have benefitted from life-changing placements at both centres in the United States. On this side of the Atlantic, Mike has been an ESA/DfE “Space Ambassador” for ESERO-UK (the UK’s Space Education Office) and a Lead Educator for the National Space Academy programme.

Lance Howarth, Dave Honess & Eben Upton, Raspbery Pi
Tim Peake’s mission has triggered several outreach initiatives (1) but only one leaves a resource on ISS that can be exploited for years to come world-wide – Astro Pi (2).  Schoolkids have competed to programme the space qualified (helped by SSTL, UK Space Agency, ESA) version of the Raspberry Pi schools computer (3) with attached sensor suite.  Extensive new Astro Pi teaching resources are hosted by ESERO (4).  ESA will extend the competition to Europe in 2016.  Lance Howarth has led the Raspberry Pi team that created and manufactured Astro Pi without payment (and they are a charity) – way beyond the day job.

The Rosetta/Philae Outreach Team
Turning a great scientific achievement into a great popular science outreach achievement.  I think they had the most engaged audience for a space event for a long time.

5. Space Achievement – Student

The MSC Student Outreach Team, Kings College London
Dr Green and his MSC students have over a number of years supported a whole host of outreach events.  They have designed new interactive activities, spoken at lectures, acted as space ambassadors and generally enthused and wowed a range of audiences about space.  Events they have supported have included Stargazing Live, Into Film, The Launch of the Longitude Explorer prize.  Many of the students have continued with their outreach activities post-graduation.  This includes people such as Dr Dalbir Singh and Kristen Shafer.  They undertake outreach with great energy and knowledge!

Eleni Antoniadou, University College London
Eleni Antoniadou conducts research in the field of space science and regenerative medicine, and wishes to pursue a fulfilling career in the aerospace sector.

Eleni has graduated from the NASA Academy in 2012, and has worked at the Mars Exploration Lab on the effects of radiation and gravity to the central nervous system. In addition, in 2014 Eleni has worked at the Astronaut Training Division and had the honour to instruct biomedical experiments to the crew of Mission 40/41, along with the experts in the field from the European Astronaut Center. In particular, she has contributed to the Spacetex experiment that investigates the effect of connective heat transfer and sweat in microgravity conditions on the thermoregulatory centre in the brain.  In 2015, Eleni has been selected as a bioscientist at the Mars Desert Research Station to perform cryopreservation experiments of biological samples in extreme environments. Furthermore, Eleni’s multidisciplinary research interests are not reflected just in her doctoral studies but also in her educational background as a whole, since she holds a masters in Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine from UCL-UK, a masters in Bioengineering from UIUC-USA and a bachelors in Computer Science and Biomedical Informatics from UTH-GR.  Eleni is an enthusiastic advocate for space science and space exploration and has acted as a great role model for young women who aspire to get engaged into the space field.  I strongly believe that Eleni deserves to be recognised with the “2015 Sir Arthur Clarke Student Space Achievement” award, not only because she epitomises dedication, determination and drive but also for her team-spirit attitude and her vibrant personality.

The Time Continuum Team, Queen Ethelburgas School
After a chance observation via the internet I brought the NASA/idoodle initiative “Cubes in Space” to our school’s attention in North Yorkshire. Although a worldwide initiative it’s not very well known in the UK.

Our team of 4 year 9 pupils embraced the concept completely and using a variety of influences from fact and fiction, put together an 8 part experiment to study how external forces such as vibration, speed and temperature could potentially affect how the passage of time is recorded during spaceflight.

Our team successfully made it through challenge round and the experiment, along with several others from around the world, will be launched from NASA Wallops facility in late June this year, then returned to earth to give the boys the opportunity to study their findings and draw scientific conclusions from their work.

This wonderful achievement has launched STEM big-style into our school (and wider) community and we are now moving forward at a rate of parsecs to bring the whole concept of STEM, Space and science generally to further capture our students’  interest and intellect.

The boys have worked hard, in the midst of exam season, to make this happen and it would be wonderful and inspirational for our whole team if this achievement, small though it is at this stage, could be formally acknowledged. We are looking forward to further imminent space-themed projects as we speak.

6. Space Achievement – Media, broadcast and written

Richard Hollingham
As space correspondent for BBC Future, Richard writes a popular fortnightly column for the BBC Future website with a massive worldwide audience – around a million readers per column. For several years this international audience did not include a national readership because the site was unavailable in the UK. But within the last six months the BBC opened the site to the UK and the success of his space column has increased. It is now one of the most read columns on the entire site. Richard’s achievements on BBC Future have gone under the radar – but consistently providing a column on space to a million people who love what he does shouldn’t be passed by!

Virtual Astronomer
A very informative person, he gives all the up to date information about astronomical events and has really helped me gain a better understanding of the night sky.  A very friendly/helpful/understanding person on top.  Would really deserve some recognition for all his hard work.

He brings space alive, he tweets info on ISS passes, aurora info, retweets exciting info, is funny, approachable, helpful and  he has brought all things space to ordinary people in a way we can understand!

Robin Brand
Author of book “Britain’s First Space Rocket: The Story of Skylark” – which is a thoroughly researched, well-presented and beautifully illustrated account of the British Skylark rocket upon which so much of the early history of UK space science and technology was founded. For those (numerous) of us that cut our space scientist teeth on Skylark this is more than just a nostalgic record of exciting and pioneering times, it provides object lessons in how, under the right conditions, relatively small teams of bright and dedicated engineers and scientists can achieve remarkable results.

7. Space Achievement – Lifetime:

Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA
For the first time since its creation in the mid-1970s, the European Space Agency has been managed by a true rocket scientist and one with an interest in, and flair for, commercial, managerial, political and diplomatic initiatives.  While strengthening its technical and scientific edge, he has pushed through difficult commercial, security and political initiatives often against strong vested interests.  The result has given Europe a power house of a space agency with support from all sides of the political spectrum across Europe, and boasting a sensible and dynamic relationship with Member States, the European Union and commercial organisations.

Prof. Constantinos Stavrinidis, ESA
Professor Constantinos Stavrinidis (or Steve to everyone), has been Head of ESA’s Mechanical Engineering Department in ESTEC for at least 10 years and part of the ESA for over 20years. In that time, Steve has been a great advocate of UK companies and research organisations and is undeniably one of the key stakeholders responsible for growth and high confidence in the UK Space Sector that we see today. He is an ESA BRIT who has helped coordinate and nurture UK industries involvement in ESA and has championed innovative missions such as low cost formation flying, enabling good science to be done at low cost, integrating well with UK industry strengths. Steve has been a strong promotor of collaborative research and innovation as a fundamental part of the space programme, investing in UK organisations to deliver outstanding developments and cost efficiencies in propulsion technologies, EO instrumentation, materials research, optoelectronics, metrology, calibration & satellite testing, mechanisms and space structures

Steve has also been a great source of leadership in higher education and skills development, improving training of space engineers from the top European space engineering universities, work that has now been recognised and adopted by the wider European engineering profession. He also has visiting Professorships from both Strathclyde and Surrey Universities who independently recognise his leadership and contribution to science. He supports research and innovation excellence in numerous communities through current roles such as Editor in chief of the CEAS Space Journal and Chairman of NAFEMS, the world trade body for simulation.

It is for these reasons that I would like to nominate Steve for a Lifetime Achievement award before he retires from ESA in the near future.

Professor J.L. Culhane,  Mullard Space Science Laboratories, UCL
A world-class scientist in X-ray astronomy and solar physics.  Led the development of sophisticated X-ray/EUV spectrometers involving the UK, Japan, the US, and Norway, thus demonstrating the value of international collaborations.  An expert on space science who serves on many international space science committees.  He currently has about 245 refereed papers with about 7500 citations.  He has seminal papers on X-ray and EUV spectroscopy of the solar atmosphere.  Under his leadership, the MSSL/UCL laboratory was developed into a world leader in space science.  He has received many awards in recognition of his research and space science leadership.

8. Space Achievement – International
This award is made for significant or outstanding achievements which either feature or further an important international aspect in an area of space activity. The final selection and judging of this award is carried out by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation.

Dr. Burton I. Edelson (Posthumus)
Dr. Burton I. Edelson, born in New York, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and gained his Masters and Doctorate in Metallurgy from Yale in 1954 and 1960, before becoming Deputy Director of Comsat Laboratories, in 1967.  There he led a program that helped develop some of the world’s first commercial communications satellites.  He became Director in 1972.  In 1982 he was appointed Associate Administrator of NASA for Space Sciences and Applications.  He played a key role in several vital programs including the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), which some say he actually got started.  He then led the effort to correct the focal problem on the $1.8 billion program to produce some of the highest resolution images of the universe, confirm the existence of black holes, create an accurate age for the universe and calibrate its rate of expansion.

Other programs included the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite program, the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS), the Halley Comet Interceptor and the Mars Explorer Mission.  He supported international cooperation throughout his career and, while at NASA, worked on a number of technical collaborations with the Soviet Union, Japan and Europe.

After retiring from NASA, Mr. Edelson directed projects in satellite communications and advanced space technology at the Institute of Applied Space Research at George Washington (GW) University. He served on the Board of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation for over 10 years and after his death in January 2002 the Foundation helped establish a Scholarship at GW University in his name.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope it is befitting that the International Sir Arthur Clarke Award should go to Dr. Burton Edelson.

Council of Ministers 2014 (CMIN14) Team, UK Space Agency
An unsung team which, behind the scenes, has succeeded in transforming the UK’s relationship with the European Space Agency at a time of deep recession and has delivered a funded programme that puts UK space at the heart of the European Space programme. They have done this by assiduous hard work with industry and government officials to build an argument that gained HMG backing.

The Council of Ministers meeting takes place every few years at ESA and is, as it implies, the place where the Space Ministers meet to determine the budget course for ESA over the next few years. This remains one of the largest sources of funding for our sector.  This small team built up the case for funding UK industry over 6-9 months, putting together business cases, with some inputs from industry, and then negotiating with the Treasury.  The team then had to go to ESA to negotiate roles versus other nations in the various projects.  This was a challenging process which ultimately led to the positive financial settlement that was announced in December 2014.

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