IAF 2017 Award Recipients

Each year, during the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), the IAF rewards high-level space stakeholders through awards such as the :

  • IAF World Space Award that recognises a most eminent person with exceptional merit in space science, space technology, space medicine, space law or space management who has made a fundamental and global impact upon the world’s progress in astronautics.
  • Allan D. Emil Memorial Award that recognises an eminent person for an outstanding contribution or contributions in space which involved the participation of more than one nation and/or which furthered the possibility of greater international cooperation in astronautics,
  • IAF Hall of Fame that recognises eminent individuals who have contributed substantially during the course of their careers to the progress of astronautics within the framework of the IAF activities.
  • Frank J. Malina Astronautics Medal that recognises outstanding contributions to space education by an educator who promotes the study of astronautics and space science

The IAF is proud to introduce the 2017 Award recipients!

The winners were chosen by the Honours and Awards Committee (HAC). They will be invited to attend the Gala Dinner as guest of the IAF President (free of charge) and their registration fees for the IAC will be waived for the year of induction.

 IAF World space award

Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr

Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.) was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He began his duties as head of the agency on July 17, 2009. As Administrator, Bolden leads a nationwide NASA team to advance the missions and goals of the U.S. space program.
At NASA, Bolden has overseen the safe transition from 30 years of space shuttle missions to a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station and space and aeronautics technology development. He has led the agency in developing a Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft that will carry astronauts to deep space destinations, such as an asteroid and Mars. He also established a new Space Technology Mission Directorate to develop cutting-edge technologies for the missions of tomorrow. During Bolden’s tenure, the agency’s support of commercial space transportation systems for reaching low-Earth orbit have enabled successful commercial cargo resupply of the space station and significant progress toward returning the capability for American companies to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017. Bolden has also supported NASA’s contributions toward development of developing cleaner, faster, and quieter airplanes. The agency’s dynamic science activities under Bolden include an unprecedented landing on Mars with the Curiosity rover, launch of a spacecraft to Jupiter, enhancing the nation’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites, and continued progress toward the 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Bolden’s 34-year career with the Marine Corps also included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office. After joining the office in 1980, he traveled to orbit four times aboard the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions and piloting two others. His flights included deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope and the first joint U.S.-Russian shuttle mission, which featured a cosmonaut as a member of his crew.
Prior to his nomination as NASA administrator, Bolden was Chief Executive Officer of JACKandPANTHER LLC, a small business enterprise providing leadership, military, and aerospace consulting, as well as motivational speaking.
Born Aug. 19, 1946, in Columbia, S.C., Bolden graduated from C. A. Johnson High School in 1964 and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical science in 1968 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After completing flight training in 1970, he became a Naval Aviator. Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, while stationed in Namphong, Thailand between 1972 – 1973.
Bolden earned a Master of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. In 1978, he was assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md., and completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft until his selection as an astronaut candidate in 1980.
Bolden’s NASA astronaut career included technical assignments as the Astronaut Office Safety Officer; Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations; Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston; Chief of the Safety Division at Johnson (where he oversaw efforts to return the shuttle to flight safely after the 1986 Challenger accident); lead astronaut for vehicle test and checkout at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; and Assistant Deputy Administrator at NASA Headquarters. After his final shuttle flight in 1994, he left NASA and returned to active duty with Marine Corps operating forces as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.
In 1997, Bolden was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific. During the first half of 1998, he served as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. He was promoted to his final rank of major general in July 1998 and named Deputy Commander of U.S. forces in Japan. He later served as the Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., from 2000 – 2002. He retired from the Marine Corps in 2003. Bolden’s many military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.



Dr. LEI Fanpei

Dr. LEI Fanpei is the Chairman of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the President of of Executive Council of Chinese Society of Astronautics (CSA), Co-Chairs of 2017 Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX2017), Chairman of the Steering Committee of the IAA Studies Center (China), Commander-in-Chief of China’s New-Generation Launch Vehicle Program, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of China’s Manned Space Program, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of China’s Lunar Exploration Program, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of China’s First Mars Exploration Mission, Commander-in-Chief of China’s Hard X Ray Telescope Satellite Program.

Dr.LEI Fanpei attaches great importance to international cooperation and vigorously promotes the international development of China’s space industry.With his great efforts, CASC has established extensive relations with a large number of space enterprises, governmental agencies, academic institutions and international organizations, and has built strategic partnership of mutual benefit with many of them. Under his leadership, CASC positively integrates itself into the international commercial space activities and provides in-orbit satellite delivery and commercial launch services for the international users; helps the developing countries realize sustainable development by using of space technology; substantially participates in and supports the activities of the international space organizations by fully making use of their roles and strengthening international exchanges and cooperation, thus promoting the progress of space technology and its applications and bring benefits to more people.

Under his leadership, CASC has successfully implemented many international cooperation programs, such as the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite Program, Sino-French Ocean Satellite Program, China-Italy Electromagnetic Satellite Program for the purpose of peaceful utilization and exploration of the outer space resources. CASC also actively participates in the intergovernmental multilateral cooperation,such as activities of UNCOPUOS,  BRICs remote sensing satellite constellation program, the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters (CHARTER) and Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee(IADC).

Up to now, CASC has completed 54 commercial launch services for customers in more than 20 countries and regions, exported 11 satellites to and provided 12 Piggyback launch services for 9 countries .

Under Dr.LEI’ Fanpei’s leadership, CASC has always paid attention to the cooperation with developing countries by maintaining friendly relations and cooperation with space agencies of Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bolivia, Venezuela and Laos. CASC has actively carried out technical transfer, joint development, personnel training and formulation of strategic planning of space development. CASC has trained more 600 space professionals for over 30 countries and helped partners to set up their own space system. The China-Brazil CBERS program is known as the “South and South Cooperation Model” which not only supports the the economic construction and social development of the two countries, but also realizes the free data delivery to the regions of South Africa and Southeast Asia.

Dr. LEI Fanpei actively supports CASC participate in the activities of International Astronautical Federation (IAF), International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and other important international organizations, and experts of CASC to hold positions in these organizations. As the President of of Executive Council of CSA, Dr. LEI positively promotes and supports CSA to be deeply involved in the acclivities of IAF. Such as, during the 67th International Astronautical Conference, CSA’s application for establishing the IAF Small Satellite Commercial Application Selected Committee was approved by the Bureau and the General Assembly. It is the first IAF committee which is initiated by China. At present, CSA and IAF are preparing the 2017 Global Space Exploration Conference which will be held in June in Beijing. CSA is planning to organize a delegation of China’s space professionals and a delegation of China’s major space companies to attend to the academic meetings and exhibition of the 68th IAC.

As the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the IAA Studies Center (China), Dr. LEI Fanpei actively promotes relevant activities. in 2016, CSA and IAA jointly held the Symposium on Space International Cooperation Promoting Economic and Social Development of Developing Country. 12 representatives from governmental organizations, enterprises, and international organizations were invited to deliver keynote speeches introducing how international cooperation promoting the economic and social development of their own countries and making proposals for the field and methods of future cooperation. The symposium has produced good results.



Berndt Feuerbacher

Berndt Feuerbacher was born in 1940 in Dresden, Germany. He completed his academic education at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He was appointed at the European Space Agency in the Space Science Department at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

His past activities include: Principal Investigator for laboratory experiments on lunar surface materials from the Apollo flights; project scientist for various science missions, including the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite and the First Spacelab Payload.

In 1981 he was appointed Chair of Space Physics at the University of Bochum in Germany, and simultaneously Director of the Institute of Space Simulation at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne.

After German reunification in 1990, he supported the integration of the former Institute of Cosmic Research of the Academy of Science of the German Democratic Republic, founding two new DLR Institutes in Adlershof, Berlin.

His main research activities concentrated on materials science and solid state physics using microgravity conditions. He contributed to progress in the understanding of the interaction of dust and grain particles with neutral and plasma environments in space and on Earth, and was active in research on comets and small bodies in planetary systems.

In this context he was involved in numerous space missions like TEXUS, Spacelab1, D1, D2, Eureca, Mir and MSL as well as in instrumental developments and ground operation systems. He initiated the design and construction of a landing probe called “Philae” for the ESA Rosetta mission, which has landed on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014.

His scientific results have been published in more than 180 journal papers, 12 books, and led to eight patents. After his retirement in 2006, Berndt Feuerbacher was appointed founding director of the new DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen.

Berndt Feuerbacher advised ESA, NASA and the German space agency in various functions. He is active in learned societies such as the European Physical Society, DGLR, COSPAR, ELGRA, ESSC and others where he is a member, a board or council member. He was elected full member of the IAA in 1986.

He has been active in the IAF as committee member since 1982 and served as IPC Co-Chairman in 2001 (Toulouse), 2002 (Houston) and 2003 (Bremen). He was elected Vice-President of IAF in 2006 before taking up his post as President (2008-2012).


Richard L. “Dick“ Kline

Dick Kline received his BSME from Yale University and MSME from Princeton University. He joined Grumman Aerospace in June 1956 in the Thermodynamics Department.

He was designated Apollo Lunar Module Thermal Shield Program Manager starting in 1966. He and his team developed a Thermophysics Laboratory where radiative properties of materials were determined under vacuum conditions. He then served as Grumman Technical Manager for the Lunar Module LTA-8 Manned System Test Program, managing all technical elements of this full-scale test campaign conducted at the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston, Texas. Two astronauts operated the Lunar Module in the 26 ft. vacuum chamber facility. The test objectives validated the flight profiles showing that the LM would perform properly in orbit. He received the NASA Astronaut’s Silver Snoopy Award “for Professional Excellence as Technical Director”.

He was later appointed Program Vice President, Grumman Space Division, with responsibility for civilian programs. He led cutting-edge technology developments encompassing, satellite servicing, EVA, telepresence and payload handling topics. He proposed that Grumman bid for NASA’s Space Station Program Support contract. This was a win and he helped establish a new Grumman division.

He served as Vice President and Deputy Director of the new Grumman Space Station Program Support Division, headquartered in Reston, Virginia, with operations at five NASA Centers (790 employees). He championed a short module concept, Integrated Truss concept and restructuring to reduce program costs by $6B. These proposals were baselined. His team received NASA Headquarter’s Special Service Group Award “for Contribution to the Restructuring Design of Space Station Freedom”.

After joining NASA In 1992 he directed a National Facilities Study to formulate a coordinated National Plan for World-class aeronautics and space facilities. It included review of over 1800 NASA, DoD, & DOE facilities.  An unclassified facility inventory was placed on the Web for public use. All of his team’s 91 recommendations were accepted or accepted with modification. He was commended by U.S. Vice President Al Gore as part of reinventing government and received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal for leadership.

He has been an active IAF participant since 1977, contributing as Co-Chair of the World Space Congress Technical Program Committee; Chairman, Congress Committee; and Co-Chair, International Program Committees over more than nine years.

He was appointed Affiliate Professor at George Mason University (GMU), and served for eighteen years on GMU’s School of Computational Sciences and Informatics Advisory Board, including four years as Chair.

He received the IAF Alan D. Emil Award, IAA Space Sciences Award, AAS Lovelace Award “for outstanding contributions to Space Science & Technology”, AIAA  Medal for International Cooperation and their von Braun Space Management Medal. He received the “Yale Science & Engineering Award for Distinguished Service to Industry, Commerce or Education”.

Dick is a past IAA Trustee and Scientific Activities Committee Vice-Chair. He was elected Fellow, and Director of the AIAA; and Fellow and Director of the American Astronautical Society.


Stanislav Konyukhov

1937-06-12 – 2011-04-03

An outstanding scientist and designer in the field of space rocket engineering. A General Designer – General Director of Yuzhnoye SDO in 1991-2010. Doctor of Engineering (1987), Professor (1991), Academician of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (1992), Academician of International Engineering Academy (1992), Academician of K.E. Tsiolkovsky Academy of Cosmonautics (1994), Academician of New York Academy of Sciences (1996), Academician of International Academy of Astronautics (1997), Academician of Academy of Military Sciences of Russian Federation (2004), Vice President of International Academy of Astronautics (2005).

Stanislav Konyukhov was born in the village of Bekrenevo, Vologda region, Russia. After he had graduated from Physical Engineering Department of Dniepropetrovsk State University (1959), he worked at Yuzhnoye SDO as engineer, senior engineer (1959-1962), leading engineer, leading design engineer (1962-1964), chief of section (1964-1974), chief of department, deputy chief design engineer (1974-1978), complex supervisor, deputy chief of complex (1978-1984), Director and Chief Design Engineer of the Space Vehicles Design Office (1984-1986), First Deputy General Design Engineer of the Yuzhnoye NVO, First Deputy Director of the Yuzhnoye SDO (1986-1991), General Designer – General Director of Yuzhnoye SDO (1991-2010).

Konyukhov is one of the talented followers of M.K. Yangel and V.F. Utkin who passed a great school of developing, designing, development and flight testing of missile and space rocket systems. He made significant contribution in the development and building of several generations of strategic missile systems, launch vehicles and spacecraft created in Yuzhnoye SDO, including one of the most powerful and effective liquid-propellant strategic missiles R36M (SS-18), solid-propellant missile RT23 (SS-24) of silo and railroad basing mode. He justified and developed the principles of developing, designing and development testing of pop-up launch scheme for liquid-propellant heavy missiles, which considerably improved the performance of missile systems put in Strategic Missile Forces service. He supervised the works on designer’s supervision and considerable prolongation of guaranteed service life of R36M (SS-18) missile being in the Russian Army inventory.

Substantially, due to S. Konyukhov’s initiative and energy, Yuzhnoye SDO entered the world space services market and occupied a deserved place there. He supervised the works on creation of unique Sea Launch and Land Launch space rocket systems with Zenit launch vehicles, Dnepr space launcher derived from decommissioned SS-18 missile, light-class Vega space launcher, on creation and commercial use of Cyclone-4 space launch system, and AUOS-CM-KI, Sich-1, Ocean, Sich-2 spacecraft et al.

Konyukhov holds an outstanding position among the pioneers – organizers of extensive international cooperation in space exploration. Owing to the international activities of Yuzhnoye SDO, Yuzhmash, Ukraine is included in the ten world ‘ s leading space powers and participates in the implementation of major international space projects like Sea Launch, Land Launch, Dnepr, Cyclone-4, Egyptsat, Vega et al.

Stanislav Nikolayevich Konyukhov gave much consideration to training of engineering and scientific manpower. He held a Chair of System Design at the Institute of Professional Development of the USSR Ministry of General Machine – Building (1987-1992), Chair of Flying Vehicles Designing at Kharkov Aviation Institute (1995). A Chief Editor of industry scientific – technical collection (1991), a member of Specialized Board of Dniepropetrovsk National University for dissertations defense (1988), a member of Experts Board of Supreme Certification Commission of Ukraine (1992), a member of Section of Interindustry Scientific-Technical Council for Space Research of Russian Academy of Sciences.


Robert Briskman

Mr. Briskman received his Bachelor of Science degree from Princeton University and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. He has been involved with the implementation of satellite communications systems since their inception. Mr. Briskman is currently President of Telecommunications Engineering Consultants. Previously, he co-founded Sirius Satellite Radio in 1991 serving as Executive Vice President, Engineering, where he was responsible for the implementation of its satellite radio broadcasting system to mobile subscribers in the United States, and then served as Technical Executive of Sirius XM Radio.

Mr. Briskman was employed by the Geostar Corporation from 1986 to 1990 where he was Senior Vice President, Engineering.  Mr. Briskman was with COMSAT from 1964 through 1985 where he last was responsible for providing technical services in the areas of satellites, earth stations and telecommunications systems.  He was Vice President, System Implementation of COMSAT General Corporation.  Prior to joining COMSAT, Mr. Briskman was Chief of Program Support for the Office of Tracking and Data Acquisition at NASA and received the APOLLO Achievement Award from NASA.  He worked for the Army Security Agency and IBM before NASA.

Mr. Briskman is a Fellow and past Director, Vice President for Technical Activities and Secretary-Treasurer of the IEEE, which gave him the 2008 IEEE AESS Pioneer Award, a Fellow of the AIAA, which gave him the 2007 Aerospace Communications Award and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has authored over seventy technical papers, holds many United States and foreign patents and has been inducted into the SSPI, the CEA Consumer Electronics, and the Space Foundation Halls of Fame and the University of Maryland Innovation Hall of Fame. Mr. Briskman was a former President of the North American Broadcasters Association’s Board of Directors.



Lynn Cominsky

Lynn Cominsky is the Chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department at Sonoma State University (SSU) and the founder and director of SSU’s Education and Public Outreach Group. She is an author on over 150 research papers in refereed journals, and the Principal Investigator on over $22 million of grants to SSU. Funded by NASA, NSF and the US Department of Education, Cominsky and her group excel at the development of interactive web-based and hands-on STEM activities for students in grades 5-14. Current projects include the ‘Learning by Making’ STEM curriculum being piloted by six rural, high-needs high schools in Mendocino County, ‘Rising Data: A Flight Project Curriculum for Community College Students” in which students are using rockets and drones to take scientific data with custom-built payloads, and “EdgeCube: A 1U Global Climate Monitor” which is the second

CubeSat to be built by SSU students. In the past, she has served as the scientific director for the PBS NOVA television program “Monster of the Milky Way” and accompanying planetarium show “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity.” In 1993, Prof. Cominsky was named SSU’s Outstanding Professor, and the California Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology, in 2009, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and in 2013, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Other recent awards include the 2014 Aerospace Awareness award from the Women in Aerospace organization, the 2015 Sally Ride Education Award from the American Astronautical Society, the 2016 Education Prize from the American Astronomical Society and the 2016 Wang Family Excellence Award from the California State University.