Sir Arthur Clarke Awards 2014 Winners

The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards 2014 were hosted at The Royal Aeronautical Society on Wednesday 8th October. The British Interplanetary Society’s President, Alistair Scott, welcomed the guests and nominees. Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency and sponsor of the Award ceremony handed out this year’s Monoliths to the winners.

Space Achievement – Industry/Project Team – The ESA/Industry Rosetta Team

Dr. Andrea Accomazzo, Rosetta Flight Director, ESOC, Darmstadt
Dr. Paolo Ferri, Head of Mission Operations, ESOC,  Darmstadt
Dr. Rainer Best, Rosetta Project Manager, Airbus DS, Friedrichshafen
Hans-Martin Hell, Rosetta Platform Manager, Airbus DS, Friedrichshafen
Rod Emery, Rosetta UK Platform Project Manager, Airbus DS, Stevenage
Phil McGoldrick, Rosetta UK Platform Engineering Manager, Airbus DS, Stevenage
Penny Irvine, Rosetta UK Platform System Engineer, Airbus DS, Stevenage
Dr. Stephan Ulamec, Philae Project Manager, DLR

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta comet-chaser mission will help scientists unlock the mysteries of the oldest building blocks of our Solar System, the comets. Launched in March 2004 the spacecraft has spent the last 10 years journeying around the solar system with two challenging flybys of asteroids Steins and Lutetia and 31 months hibernation on the way. It finally arrived at comet 67P/ Churyumov–Gerasimenko, now affectionately known as ‘the duck’, in August 2014. There it is performing extensive observations of the comet and, on or about 11 November, will deploy the Philae lander to the surface.

The Management and Design Team deserve to be recognised for Rosetta’s amazing performance and achievements so far, while the ESA Flight Operations Team should be congratulated and rewarded for placing Rosetta “in orbit” around the comet on 6 August 2014. This is another first for Rosetta and the team. Together the two teams are totally deserving of the Team Award.

Space Achievement – Industry/Project Individual – John Ellwood – Ex ESA

John has made many significant contributions to several major Space programmes.  He was ESA’s project manager on the Rosetta spacecraft, which after hibernating for 2.5 years in deep space and visiting two asteroids en-route (Steins and Lutetia), has in August 2014, finally been put into orbit around the small comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

John’s other achievements include a crucial role in the design of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO, launched in 1995, Payload Manager and then Project Manager of the four-spacecraft Cluster-2 mission launched from Baikonur on two Soyuz rockets in July/August 2000 and, as ESA Project Manager of the first Automated Transfer Vehicle, ‘Jules Verne’, he saw the first ATV docking with the International Space Station on 3 April 2008.

Finally, he was drafted in to find a feasible way for Europe to get to Mars.  The two US-European ExoMars missions were the result, along with a long term plan for a joint mars Sample return.  Sadly, after John had retired, high level politics intervened in the US and US support was withdrawn.  Now the basic programme continues with the Russians replacing the USA as partners.

Space Achievement – Academic Study/Research – Prof Louise Harra, MSSL, UCL

Professor Harra has been a leading figure in the UK and international exploitation of the Japanese Hinode Satellite. She has both coordinated and encouraged many of the 900 publications that have arisen from the mission and also made very significant personal contributions to the exciting science. Moreover, while Hinode continues to operate and remains highly productive Professor Harra has gone on to be science lead and UK Co-I of a major instrument (EUI – the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager) on the ESA Solar Orbiter Mission.

Space Achievement – Education and Outreach – Dr Lucie Green, Dept of Space & Climate Physics, MSSL, UCL

Lucie is an outstanding ambassador for UK space science through all her public engagement work. She presents and is guest speaker on BBC TV and Radio 4, and has extensively used research as an enrichment activity to school curriculum science. Lucie has expanded MSSL’s outreach programme to give over 7000 people each year direct contact with scientists and engineers through activities tailored for school students, teachers, adult learners and the general public. Her recent highlights included hosting a visit by the Minister of State David Willetts, attending the G8 Science Meeting closing dinner and a dinner at Buckingham Palace to discuss UK scientific research.

Space Achievement – Student – The Cranspace Team: Idriss Sisaid, Enrique Gardia Bourne, Edward Anastassacos

Idriss, Enrique and Edward have been exceptionally active and successful in their space-related extracurricular activities whilst on the Cranfield MSc course in Astronautics and Space Engineering over the past year. They were first involved in the Mars Society’s Inspiration Mars international competition to design a two person Mars flyby mission. The team’s entry reached the semi-final stage and was ranked first in the UK. It was an extremely creative, innovative and professional effort (especially considering it was done in parallel with a full-time Masters course). The team’s project website is here: and see also a video presentation at on an innovative system for radiation shielding and waste management which attracted the attention of the IAF and the Next Generation Plenary in Toronto in Sept/Oct 2014.

Subsequently, Idriss, Enrique and Edward participated in two further competitions, one with CNES and one with ESA, in each of which they were given a patent and challenged to develop a technical design and business case to exploit it. In the CNES competition, the team reached the final and was eventually placed a very close second, but with offers of support for development of their business idea. They have also been shortlisted for the ESA competition, the final of which will be held in the next couple of months.
Overall, the team has shown exceptional enthusiasm, talent and initiative and deserve recognition for their efforts.

Space Achievement – Media, Broadcast and Written – Arrow Media – “Live from Space” series

Sarah (freelance producer) and Tom produced the stunning ‘Live From Space’ series hosted by Dermot O’Leary in March 2014. Four documentaries were produced in total, for Channel 4 and the National Geographic channel, reaching an audience of millions. Their portrayal of life on board the ISS and Planet Earth was hugely inspirational, educational and enlightening and deserves recognition.

Lifetime Achievement – Colin Pillinger, Open University

Colin Pillinger, a renowned planetary scientist, started his career at the beginning of the space age with the analysis of returned Apollo samples. He established a leading research group at Cambridge and then the Open University. Subsequently, he turned his lab-based instruments into space-based ones by virtue of the talented team he had established. Although the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission produced no scientific results, it caught the public imagination. His other space instrument, Ptolemy on Rosetta, is about to reach its target. Space Science is poorer, and quieter, without Colin. This Award would be an appropriate accolade for his amazing career.

International Achievement – James Lovelock, Author and proposer of the Gaia Hypothesis, UK

Born in Letchworth, England in 1919, James Lovelock is an independent scientist, environmentalist, futurist, inventor and author. He is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis back in the 1960s, which postulates that the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling the interconnections of the chemical and physical environment. He has written some eight books on the subject and is the author of more than 200 scientific papers.

In early 1961, Lovelock was engaged by NASA to develop sensitive instruments for the analysis of extraterrestrial atmospheres and planetary surfaces. During work on a precursor to the Viking Mars Lander programme of the 1970s, Lovelock became interested in the composition of the Martian atmosphere. To him the stark contrast between the Martian atmosphere and chemically dynamic mixture of that of the Earth’s biosphere was strongly indicative of the absence of life on the planet.

Lovelock also invented the electron capture detector, which ultimately assisted in discoveries about the persistence of CFCs and their role in stratospheric ozone depletion.

James Lovelock is recognised internationally as a true visionary, using his scientific knowledge and expertise to predict our future here on Earth. He deserves to be given the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for International Achievement.

Be sociable; support the BIS!