Space Station Wins Prestigious Collier Trophy
The International Space Station program has won a prestigious aviation award the 2009 Collier Trophy in recognition of its strides in advancing aeronautics.
The prize was granted by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), and announced Wednesday.
'We are honored to receive this prestigious award," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate. "We're proud of our past achievements to build and operate the space station, and we're excited about the future there's a new era ahead of potential groundbreaking scientific research aboard the station."
Five space agencies and 15 countries jointly operate the nearly complete International Space Station, which will mark the 10th anniversary of a continuous human presence in orbit later this year. The space station represents the largest and most complicated spacecraft ever built.
Designated as a national laboratory by Congress in the 2005 NASA Authorization Act, the ISS provides microgravity conditions 220 miles (354 km) above the Earth's surface for research in many fields, including human life sciences, biological science, human physiology, physical and materials science, and Earth and space science.
A diverse six-person crew currently lives onboard the station, which possesses a mass of almost 800,000 lbs (363,000 kg) and a habitable volume of more than 12,000 cubic feet (340 cubic meters) approximately the size of a five-bedroom home. The ISS uses state-of-the-art systems to generate solar electricity, recycle nearly 85 percent of its water and generate much of its own oxygen supply. Nearly 190 humans have visited the space station, now supporting its 22nd resident crew. About 150 experiments are currently underway on the station, and more than 400 experiments have been conducted since research began nine years ago.
"I believe that the International Space Station is a wonderful example of what the Collier Trophy signifies: accomplishment, vision, and advancement in aerospace," said Walter Boyne, chairman of the NAA.