Honours and Awards

The BIS offers and awards a number of medals and awards, and supports the Sir Arthur Clarke Awards.  We believe that such prizes offer a way to recognise excellence, highlight innovation, and celebrate the work of exceptional and dedicated individuals.  The BIS’s own awards are evaluated through our Fellowship and Awards Committee, before recommendations are made to Council.

Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour awarded by the BIS, made to those who have contributed to the development of astronautics and to support for the BIS. The total number of Honorary Fellows is limited to no more than 10 individuals.

Date of Award Name
1949 Hermann Oberth 1894-1989
1949 Eugen Sänger 1905-1964
1949 Ing. Guido von Pirquet – 1880-1966
1949 M. Robert Esnault-Pelterie 1881-1957
1949 Philip E. Cleator 1908-1994
1949 Dr. Wernher von Braun 1912-1977
1962 Dr. Leslie R. Shepherd 1918-2012
1962 Arthur Valentine Cleaver 1917-1977
1962 Dr. Hugh L. Dryden 1898-1965
1967 Arthur C. Clarke 1917-2008
1969 Dr. George E. Mueller 1918-2015
1969 Dr. William H. Pickering 1910-2004
1970 Dr. Charles Stark Draper 1901-1987
2016 Dr. Helen Sharman 1963-
2016 Major Timothy Peake 1972-
2017 Prof. Freeman Dyson 1923-2020
2018 Alfred M Worden 1932-2020
2018 Sir Martin Sweeting 1951-
2018 Alan Bond 1944-
2019 David A Hardy 1936-
2019 Roy Gibson 1924-

The Gold Medal is awarded for famous achievements in Space. The Gold Medal is awarded to persons who have headed astronautical teams over a period of years, and is to recognise the achievement of the individual and the team of which they led.

Date of Award Name
1961 Major Yuri Gagarin
1961 Wernher von Braun
1964 Valentina Tereschkova
1970 Michael Collins
1970 Edwin E. Aldrin Jr
1970 Neil A. Armstrong
1992 Leonard J. Carter

Silver Awards commemorate special feats in space exploration or advancement. The physical award would take some form appropriate to the achievement they honoured – generally in the form of a small model or plaque.

Date of Award Name
1961 NASA Mercury Programme
1965 JPL Ranger 7
1966 USSR Academy of Sciences Luna 9
1968 USSR Academy of Sciences Venus 4
1969 NASA Apollo 8
1979 NASA Apollo 11
1973 NASA Apollo Programme
Date of Award Name
1962 K. Bossart: Atlas Rocket Development
1962 S.F. Singer: Scientific Satellites
1962 A.G. Haley: Space Law
1970 G.W. Hoover Earth: Satellite Concepts
1970 J.P. Stapp: Space Medicine
1970 H.E. Ross: Pioneering Space Concepts
1970 E. Stuhlinger: Advanced Propulsion
1972 A.W. Frutkin: International Space Co-operation
1972 W.H. Stephens: European Launcher Development
1972 S. Hoffman: Saturn Rocket Engine Development
1976 Chesley Bonestell: Astronautical Art
1979 R. Freitag: Managing Major Space Projects
1991 Helen Sharman: First Briton in Space
1992 Roy Gibson: Contributions to Space in Europe
1993 W.I. McLauchlin: Scientific Space probes
1995 Arthur C. Clarke: Visionary “invention” of the Communications Satellite
1997 Patrick Moore: Public Education
1998 Martin Sweeting: Small Satellites
2005 Colin Pillinger: Space Science
Date of Award Name
1967 R.C. Speiser
1967 G. Sohl
1968 P. Bono
1970 G.A. Flandro
1974 Krafft A. Ehricke

The Patrick Moore medal was made possible by long-time Fellow of the BIS, Sir Patrick Moore, to recognise outstanding contributions to the Society.

Date of Award Name
1995 Leslie R. Shepherd
1996 Eric M. Waine
1996 Leonard J. Carter & Gerald V. Groves
1997 Lee D. Saegessar
1997 H.H. Koelle
1998 Anthony R. Martin & Alan Bond
2001 Yvonne Cooper
2003 Neville Kidger
2007  Peter Mata
2011 Mark Stewart & Alex Stewart 
2013 Adrian Mann
2014 Ralph Timerlake 
2015 Andrew Vaudin
2015 Steve Salmon
2016 Terry Henley 
2016 Vix Southgate
2020 Gill Norman

Introduced in 2009, this BIS silver pin award recognises the achievement of UK-born individuals who have undertaken a spaceflight into full Earth orbit.

Date of Award Name
2009 Dr. Helen Sharman (Soyuz TM-12/TM11, 1991)
2009 Richard Garriott de Cayeux ( Soyuz TMA-13/TMA-12, 2008)
2010 Dr. Piers Sellers (STS-112, 2002) (STS-121,2006) (STS-132, 2010)
2011 Dr. Nicholas Patrick (STS-116,2006) (STS-130, 2010)
2017 Dr. Michael Foale  (STS-45, 1992) (STS-56, 1993)(STS-63, 1995) (STS-84/ Mir24/STS-86, 1997) (STS-103, 1999) (TMA-3/ISS Expedition 8, 2003)
2016 Major Tim Peake (ISS Expedition 46/47)

The BIS NextGen Rising Star Awards were founded in 2021, in the first year of the NextGen Network. In their first year, they celebrated Women in Space, in line with the World Space Week theme of that year. They were celebrated with a reception at BIS HQ, and alongside certificates the winners were also given Silver Comet Brooches.  

The BIS Silver Comet Brooch was designed for Shirley Jones, Executive Secretary, as a gift from a Fellow. A BIS Silver Comet Brooch was also presented to Helen Sharman for her outstanding support for the Society, and another to Vix Southgate, as an acknowledgement of her volunteer work for the Society and managing WSWUK.  It was later replicated by the original jeweller and made available for sale by the Society during the 1990s and early 2000s.

In 2021, The BIS Rising Star Awards were born and the final five of these pins were presented to 5 outstanding young women in the space sector.  

Vix Southgate and Alan Bond developed this initiative as part of the World Space Week 2021’s ‘Women in Space’ theme and the BIS NextGen Network developed the criteria and ran the nominations and judging.  

Date of Award



Rosie Cane

Sara Motaghian

Megan Maunder

Kristina Tamane

Dr Heidi Thiemann