The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards – Announcement of the 2018 Winners

The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation and its UK partner the British Interplanetary Society are pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Sir Arthur Clarke Centenary Awards.  In a relaxed and enjoyable ceremony at the Reinventing Space Conference Gala Dinner at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on 1st November 2018, nine awards were presented to team and individual winners.

The evening began with a superb pre-dinner reception in the splendid Argyle Room where Sean McCarthy, Head of Market Intelligence at the Satellite Applications Catapult, sponsors of the reception, welcomed some 60 award finalists and their guests and a similar number of conference delegates.  Gerry Webb, President of the British Interplanetary Society, then took the opportunity to invite Professor Sir Martin Sweeting to become the Society’s fifth Honorary Fellow in recognition of the massive contribution he has made to astronautics both in industry and in education over so many years.   He joins the theoretical physicist and mathematician, Professor Freeman Dyson, Apollo astronaut Colonel Al Worden, and UK astronauts Dr Helen Sharman and Major Tim Peake.

The delegates, finalists and guests then made their way down to the lavishly-transformed Boeing Room for dinner.  Popular American TV scientist, Bill Nye, ‘the Science Guy’, gave an amusing and energetic talk as the splendid 3-course meal was efficiently served.  Dallas Campbell, celebrity TV Presenter and Author of ‘Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet’, then took to the stage and invited Alistair Scott to say a few words about the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation and its ‘Sir Arthur Clarke Awards’ that recognise and reward teams and individuals for their achievements in the year.  Dallas then began the Awards Ceremony, reading out all the finalists for each award and naming their representatives before opening the envelope to reveal the winner.

As each of the Award Winners, listed below, was announced, they came forward to loud applause to collect their Award Monolith, an exact scale replica, in clear glass, of the monolith in Sir Arthur’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.  Bill Nye happily participated in the celebrations by joining each winner on stage for their photographs.  The evening culminated in the International Award being presented to the Falcon Heavy Team from SpaceX, represented by their Senior Director Tom Ochinero, who, after a few words of thanks, showed the most amazing short film of the build and launch of the Tessla Roadster and the return to Earth of the first stage boosters.   This impressive achievement received tumultuous applause and brought the evening to a fitting close.

It was a memorable evening in which the best of the UK Space Sector, and a number of significant international players, were once again recognised and rewarded for their fantastic achievements.  All the Finalists were in effect winners as, against some very stiff competition from 52 nominees for the nine awards, they had been selected, by a panel of 38 judges from across the Space Sector, as the top three in their award category.

The Winners of the 2018 Sir Arthur Clarke Awards are:

1.  Space Achievement – Industry/Project Team

Oxford Space Systems – For Innovation & enthusiasm at its best, growing from start-up to 30 people in 4 years, with the rapid development and production of new ways of stowing and deploying spacecraft equipment.

Represented by: Manisha Kushwaha, Debbie Fellows and Matthew Dreaper



2.  Space Achievement –

   Industry/Project Individual  

          Magali Vaissière – For exemplifying, as head of ESA’s Directorate of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, total commitment to making the              European space sector commercially competitive globally.



3.  Space Achievement – Academic Study/Research

          The UK Cassini team – For their massive contribution to the Cassini-Huygens mission which ended in spectacular fashion in September 2017 after over 13 years exploring the Saturn system.  UK scientists were involved in 6 of the 12 instruments on the Cassini orbiter and 2 of the 6 instruments on the Huygens probe. The science has been spectacular and UK scientists were responsible for many of the revelations.

Represented by: Prof John Zarnecki – Open University, Prof Andrew Coates – MSSL, University College London,  Prof. Carl Murray –Queen Mary University, Prof. Pat Irwin, Oxford University, Prof Geraint Jones – University College London and Dr. Leigh Fletcher – University of Leicester.



4a. Space Achievement – Education and Outreach Team

          The ESERO-UK Space Ambassadors  For their inspirational and enthusiastic work with teachers and pupils in hundreds of schools per year across the UK, using space as a context in STEM subjects to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

   Represented by: Jo Richardson, Bryony Turford and Rachel Jackson

   Supported by: Alex Brown and Tom Lyons



4b. Space Achievement – Education and Outreach Individual

          Vix Southgate – For her dedication and efforts over many years on the behalf of the British Interplanetary Society, her promotion of space through STEM outreach at schools and public events, and for her achievements as World Space Week UK National Co-ordinator.



5.  Space Achievement – Student

          Rob Garner – For his work and support for UKSEDS, building partnerships with major space companies, giving many students the opportunity to gain experience. He served on the UKSEDS Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, where he helped turn the organisation around and was instrumental in the development of, and in the organisation of the annual National Student Space Conference.



6.  Space Achievement – Media, broadcast and written

The BBC 2 ‘Astronauts – Do you have what it takes?’ Team – For an excellent programme that entertained and educated the general public in the trials and tribulations of astronaut training and selection.  The candidates, with such a wide range of interests and expertise, proved interesting.  The experts, Cdr Chris Hadfield, Dr Kevin Fong and Dr Iya Whiteley had the combined knowledge and experience to make excellent assessors and they gave good advice to the candidates through their numerous ups and downs.  Many of the candidates have gone on to be great Space ambassadors.

Represented by: Tom Coveney, Helen Thomas Gilly Goshawk and Astronauts’ winner Suzie Imber



7.  Lifetime Achievement

Richard Peckham – For being a mainstay of the UK space sector, always diplomatic and supportive and the leader of key UK Space initiatives that have strongly benefited the UK Space community.  With 30 years in the aerospace sector, ultimately as Director of Strategy & Business Development in Astrium and Airbus Defence and Space, Richard, as Chair of UKspace from 2010 to 2012, was a member of the Space Leadership Council, VP Space for the industry association ADS and a founding director of ISIC which became the Space Applications Catapult. He led the delivery of the Integrated Growth Strategy initiative published in 2010 which led to the formation of the UK Space Agency. In 2017 he stepped back in as chair of UKspace at short notice due to the resignation of the current incumbent. He retired in early 2018 to join a consultancy.



8.  International Achievement

The SpaceX Falcon Team – For the development and successful launch of the Falcon Heavy. They created a great spectacle, generating excitement around the world and demonstrated the next stage in the development of launchers.  Falcon Heavy leads the way for a new generation of commercial launch vehicles demonstrating SpaceX’s commitment to widening access to space.  It was a great team effort.

Represented by Tom Ochinero, Senior Director, SpaceX


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For further information please contact:

Gill Norman, Executive Secretary, The British Interplanetary Society

Arthur C. Clarke House, 27/29 South Lambeth Road, London, SW8 1SZ

e-mail: [email protected], Tel: +442077353160

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