The 2020 Sir Arthur Clarke Awards – Winners Announced

The British Interplanetary Society and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation are pleased to announce the Winners of the 2020 Sir Arthur Clarke Awards which recognise and reward those individuals and teams that have made notable or outstanding achievements in, or contributions to, all space activities in the year 2020.  Better known as ‘The Arthurs’, the Awards have been presented annually since 2005.

Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, the 2020 Awards could not be run in 2020 and had to be moved to 2021.  The Awards were presented at the British Interplanetary Society’s 2021 Reinventing Space Conference Gala Dinner in the QEII Conference Centre, London on Tuesday 29 June.  This was one of the first ‘live’ face-to-face events in London since the start of the Pandemic in March 2020.

The British Interplanetary Society, in conjunction with the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, invited nominations from the general public and a nominations panel of senior representatives from all areas of the space sector on Monday 2 November 2020 and extended the deadline for nominations to Monday 15 February 2021.  A total of 166 nominations for 82 nominees were received – a record for the Arthurs.

It is now expected that all future Awards will be presented in the following year as this will allow achievements and/or contributions to be completed in a full calendar year.

Selected by a large panel of judges from all parts of the Space community, the Finalists for each of the ten Awards listed below, were invited to the Reinventing Space Conference Gala Dinner.  23 of the 28 finalists attended or nominated a representative. This was another record for the Arthurs.

The Foundation and the Judges of the Sir Arthur Clarke Awards would like to take this opportunity to thank the organisers of the Reinventing Space Conference for allowing the Awards to be presented at their highly successful and enjoyable Gala Dinner.  They also want to congratulate not just the Awardees and Finalists, but all those nominated for the 2020 Awards.  They all deserve recognition and reward for their amazing achievements in, and contributions to, the growing Space sector.

The 2020 Sir Arthur Clarke Winners/Awardees

 Space Achievement – Industry/Project Team

  • The Goonhilly-6 Deep Space Antenna – Project team: For converting a 1980s Intelsat communications antenna into the world’s first privately operated ESA-approved Deep Space Antenna, now controlling Mars Express.

 Space Achievement – Industry/Project Individual

  • Dr Alice Bunn: Alice was instrumental in delivering the £1.7 billion UK investment in ESA in November 2019. She led the UK Space Agency team and worked closely with Ministers to secure a cross-Government commitment.

 Space Achievement – Academic Study/Research

  • Professor Cathryn Mitchell: For pioneering research in tomography and data assimilation, revealing a new perspective on the Earth’s ionosphere in response to space weather. Her ideas are also applied across other research fields.

 Space Achievement – Education and Outreach Team

  • The SunSpaceArt team led by Dr Helen Mason OBE with Sarah Bridgland, Geraldine Cox*, Clare Dudeney, Christabel Forbes*, Heather MacRae, Krishna Mooroogen*, Helen Schell, Sehar Sheikh*, Juie Shetye*, Dagny Kimberly Yousuf*, Alice White*, Emma Wride: Their 4-year project and STEAM website, launched in lock-down, have reached 20,000 children, encouraging them to engage in and explore space science.

 Space Achievement – Education and Outreach – Individual

  • Dr Sheila Kanani: For her continued outreach work in space and astronomy both before and during the pandemic. She brings wit, warmth and wisdom to space education outreach in books, schools and social media.

Space Achievement – Student

  • Aine O’Brien: For co-creating the national ExoMars outreach programme ‘Roving with Rosalind’, establishing and leading the RAS’ Early Career Network in 2020 & the UKSEDS’ Diversity team in 2018.

 Space Achievement – Media, broadcast and written

  • Joanna Durrant: For creating and launching her own independent podcast, “Beautiful Universe”, after her radio show was cancelled due to the pandemic.  In it Joanna shares her passion for the arts, science and space.

 Lifetime Achievement [For the first time ever two awards were presented as the two finalists tied throughout the judging process and the judges felt they equally deserved the Award]

  • Jan Wörner: Retiring at the end of February 2021 after 6 years as Director General of ESA, Dr. Wörner has been an inspirational and visionary leader of European Space, securing a record budget at the 2019 Ministerial Meeting.
  • Richard Crowther: Professor Crowther has made significant contributions to the sustainability and security of the use of outer space over many years and led the UK within the UN Committee on the Peaceful Use of Space.

 International Achievement [Finalists and Awardees selected by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation Board]

  • Omran Al Sharaf and the Emirates Mars Mission: The Hope Team designed, built and successfully launched the UAE’s, first deep space probe to Mars in 2020. This demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to advanced Science and Technology and the importance of STEM Education.
    • The Award was collected by His Excellency Mansour Abulhoul, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to UK

 Special Award

  • Lord David Willetts: Lord Willetts has made a major contribution to the resurgence of interest in space by HMG. As Minister for Universities and Science from 2010 to 2014 he delivered the Innovation and Growth Strategy for Space and secured record funding at the ESA Ministerial and a mission for Tim Peake.  He continues to support and promote the UK Space sector.

* Finalists unable to attend the Award Ceremony

For further information contact

Alistair Scott

Past President, The British Interplanetary Society

UK Board Member, The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation

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

e-mail: alistair.scott@bis-space.com | Mob: +44(0)7774490188

The 2020 Sir Arthur Clarke Awards Finalists

  Space Achievement – Industry/Project Team

  • The International Charter Space and Major Disasters (“the Charter”): In this its 20th anniversary The Charter continues to contribute the benefits of space operations to those most in need natural and man-made disasters.
  • The Goonhilly-6 Deep Space Antenna – Project team: For converting a 1980s Intelsat communications antenna into the world’s first privately operated ESA-approved Deep Space Antenna, now controlling Mars Express.
  • The Solar Orbiter Industry Team – Airbus Defence & Space: For the design and construction of the Solar Orbiter, launched in 2020 and now delivering science from its orbit closest to the sun of any camera-equipped spacecraft.

 Space Achievement – Industry/Project Individual

  • Gill Norman*: For serving as Executive Secretary of the British Interplanetary Society from 2016 to 2020, a very challenging period financially whilst coordinating staff and volunteers and delivering a busy events programme.
  • Dr Alice Bunn: Alice was instrumental in delivering the £1.7 billion UK investment in ESA in November 2019. She led the UK Space Agency team and worked closely with Ministers to secure a cross-Government commitment.
  • Daniel Smith (Astro Agency): For his enthusiasm and passion for growing the space sector in Scotland to support UK ambitions, establishing 3 space companies since 2019 and his commitment to inspiring young people, whilst also creating the ‘SpaceBar’ during lock-down.

 Space Achievement – Academic Study/Research

  • Professor Cathryn Mitchell: For pioneering research in tomography and data assimilation, revealing a new perspective on the Earth’s ionosphere in response to space weather. Her ideas are also applied across other research fields.
  • Joanne Wheeler: For championing space law in the UK and beyond and for contributing to and editing The Law Review whilst also being fully committed to the Satellite Finance Network in supporting new space companies.
  • Professor Malcolm Macdonald*: For services to, and the development of, the Scottish space sector and for the founding of SoXSA which supports new companies and encourages collaboration between industry and academia.

 Space Achievement – Education and Outreach Team

  • The SunSpaceArt team led by Dr Helen Mason OBE with Sarah Bridgland, Geraldine Cox, Clare Dudeney, Christabel Forbes, Heather MacRae, Krishna Mooroogen, Helen Schell, Sehar Sheikh, Juie Shetye, Dagny Kimberly Yousuf, Alice White, Emma Wride: Their 4-year project and STEAM website, launched in lock-down, have reached 20,000 children, encouraging them to engage in and explore space science.
  • The AstroAgency SpaceBar with Dallas Campbell and Suzie Imber: For establishing an informative, inclusive and educational online space forum with an international reputation that’s flourished throughout the pandemic.
  • Professor Thais Russomano and the InnovaSpace Team: For engaging and educating children from around the world about space, science and research through its https://kids2.space

 Space Achievement – Education and Outreach – Individual

  • Dr Tracey Dickens*: For inspiring thousands of young people to continue STEM studies and pursue careers in Space as Director of Space School UK from 2006 to 2019. She has created scholarships and trained many mentors.
  • Chas Bishop: As CEO from 2001, Chas has driven the success of the National Space Centre in becoming a major UK visitor attraction for Space science, technology and astronomy.  He continues to support the Space Academy.
  • Dr Sheila Kanani: For her continued outreach work in space and astronomy both before and during the pandemic. She brings wit, warmth and wisdom to space education outreach in books, schools and social media.

 Space Achievement – Student

  • Sophia Lee Roberts: For her early and passionate engagement with the space sector and her outstanding effort and leadership in educating and inspiring students and enabling them to develop space skills.
  • Aine O’Brien: For co-creating the national ExoMars outreach programme ‘Roving with Rosalind’, establishing and leading the RAS’ Early Career Network in 2020 & the UKSEDS’ Diversity team in 2018.
  • Pratyaksha Purohit: For her work with UKSEDS, the IoP, KCL Space (King’s College London) and RAL and for the launch of the ‘Across the Karman Line’ Podcast and other accessible events during the pandemic.

 Space Achievement – Media, broadcast and written

  • Nick Spall: For his outstanding and very readable contributions to the better understanding of aerospace research and progress, his popular space and astronautics writing and for establishing aboutaerospace.com.  
  • Jonathan Amos*: As Science Correspondent at the BBC from 1994, Jonathan has maintained an informed online channel on all aspects of space. Focussing on Earth Sciences and the Poles, he continues to report on world events.
  • Joanna Durrant: For creating and launching her own independent podcast, “Beautiful Universe”, after her radio show was cancelled due to the pandemic.  In it Joanna shares her passion for the arts, science and space.

 Lifetime Achievement

  • Jan Wörner: Retiring at the end of February 2021 after 6 years as Director General of ESA, Dr. Wörner has been an inspirational and visionary leader of European Space, securing a record budget at the 2019 Ministerial Meeting.
  • Richard Crowther: Professor Crowther has made significant contributions to the sustainability and security of the use of outer space over many years and led the UK within the UN Committee on the Peaceful Use of Space.
  • Mark Hempsell: Mark Hempsell has dedicated his life to astronautics.  A lifelong member of the BIS, he was a systems engineer on various space projects, then a University Lecturer and Future Projects Director at Reaction Engines.

 International Achievement [Finalists and Awardees selected by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation Board]

  • Gwynne Shotwell*: As President and Chief Operating Officer, Gwynne Shotwell manages operations at SpaceX which launched 26 Falcon 9s including a manned Crew-1 to the ISS in 2020.  Recovering the first stages adds to the complexity of each mission.
  • Omran Al Sharaf and the UAE’s Hope Team: The Hope Team designed, built and successfully launched the UAE’s, first deep space probe to Mars in 2020. This demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to advanced Science and Technology and the importance of STEM Education.
  • The Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC): For its diligence in raising Space awareness among students and young professionals and for representing them at the United Nations, in the Space industry and in academia.

 Special Award

  • Lord David Willetts: Lord Willetts has made a major contribution to the resurgence of interest in space by HMG. As Minister for Universities and Science from 2010 to 2014 he delivered the Innovation and Growth Strategy for Space and secured record funding at the ESA Ministerial and a mission for Tim Peake.  He continues to support and promote the UK Space sector.

 *  Finalists unable to attend the Award Ceremony

The Sir Arthur Clarke Award 2020 Categories

Though primarily designed to reward UK teams and individuals for their achievements over the past year, the Awards, once again, included International and Lifetime Achievement categories open to all.

The 2020 categories are:

 Space Achievement – Industry/Project Team

  • This award is made for significant or outstanding achievements by a UK-based team in all space activities. This includes any activity by a commercial or government organisation that designs, manufactures, supplies or operates space systems, equipment or hardware, or supports and promotes the space industry.

 Space Achievement – Industry/Project Individual

  • This award is made for significant or outstanding achievements by a UK-based individual in all space activities. This includes any activity by a commercial or government organisation that designs, manufactures, supplies or operates space systems, equipment or hardware, or supports and promotes the space industry.

Space Achievement – Academic Study/Research

  • This award is made for significant or outstanding achievements in space research by a UK-based Team or individual employed by an academic organisation. This includes research carried out in any subject related to space, whether in science, engineering, medicine, humanities, art or design.

 Space Achievement – Education and Outreach (Team)

  • This award is made for significant or outstanding achievements in space education and outreach by a UK-based company, organisation or team. This includes: formal education at all levels, informal education, education about space, education for the space community (e.g. workforce development), education using space assets/resources, and outreach to the general public or specific target groups.

 Space Achievement – Education and Outreach (Individual)

  • This award is made for significant or outstanding achievements by a UK-based individual in space education and outreach in general.  This includes: formal education at all levels, informal education, education about space, education for the space community (e.g. workforce development), education using space assets/resources, and outreach to the general public or specific target groups.

 Space Achievement – Student

  • This award is made for significant or outstanding achievements by a UK-based school, undergraduate or postgraduate student team or individual, for any space-related activity, from basic research to awards and outreach.  Nominees must be no more than 28 years of age on 1 January 2020.

 Space Achievement – Media, broadcast and written

  • This award is made for significant or outstanding achievements in space media by a UK-based team or individual. This includes any media related to space such as journalism, documentary, drama or other entertainment or scholarly record in any of the following forms: written, filmed, broadcast, web/internet-based or staged.

 Lifetime Space Achievement

  • This award is made for exceptional achievement in an area of space activity by an individual in some way connected to the UK. Examples of this might include lifetime achievement, breakthroughs in space science/technology, space undertakings of global impact/significance, etc.

 International Space Achievement

  • 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.

 Special Award

  • This award is made for significant support for, and promotion of, the UK Space Sector or for exceptional Space achievement.