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Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence

Through a partnership with The Purdue Research Foundation, the Armstrong Family and Neil Armstrong’s friend, Jim Hays, ASF recognizes an Astronaut Scholar Alum who exemplifies personal character and professional achievement, and their work leaves an impact in their field. The nominating criteria embody Neil Armstrong’s core values and those of his colleagues, the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and International Space Station astronauts.

About the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence

The Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence is awarded annually to an Astronaut Scholar Alum. This award serves as a prestigious recognition for those who continually push the boundaries in their fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The awarded Astronaut Scholar Alum exemplifies personal character and professional achievement mirroring the core values of its namesake, Neil Armstrong.

Each year, the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence is presented at the Innovators Gala, bringing together some of America’s pioneering astronauts and STEM leaders. This year the Gala will be held on August 17, 2024 in Houston, Texas.

Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence Recipients

2023 - Andrew Jones

2022 - Trent Kingery

2020 - Christina H. Koch, Ph.D.h.c.

2019 - Douglas S. Adams, Ph.D.

2018 - Larry Bradley, Ph.D.

2017 - Patrick Biltgen, Ph.D.

Thank You to Our Esteemed Judging Panel

Larry Bradley

Arthur Coleman

Eileen Collins

Andrew Jones

Janet Kavandi

Traver Kennedy

Trent Kingery

Joseph Poist

Application Details and Criteria


  Nominee must be a past ASF Astronaut Scholar recipient. Individuals who are currently receiving the Astronaut Scholarship are not eligible for nomination.

  Nominee must be a U.S. citizen.

  The achievement, product, technology, service, or body of work cited for the award has been widely recognized by others (company, industry, associations, etc.).

  Scholar alumni are eligible for the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence immediately upon completion of their tenure as a scholarship recipient.

  Previous recipients of the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence are not eligible for nomination.

  Recipients may be working in any STEM field, as defined in the document, Eligible Major Fields of Study and Work for Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Programs.

  The accomplishment(s) cited for the award may be primarily technical in nature or may be technically-related business accomplishment(s) in which the business accomplishment(s) resulted
from technical innovation that is either fully, or in part, attributed to the nominee.  Technical and technically-related business accomplishment(s), as defined in this paragraph, shall be equally
eligible for recognition.

  There shall be no bias in the nomination or selection process toward any particular industry.

Application Deadline

All applications with completed documentation are due March 31, 2024 by 11:59 PM.

Award Criteria

  Applicants must offer evidence of significant accomplishments in a STEM field.

  Applicants must embrace and demonstrate a philosophy that fosters teamwork and promotes ingenuity.

  Applicants must meet the criteria as described in the categories below:

Applicant should possess traits such as integrity, perseverance, critical thinking, intellectual daring, and a passion for exploration. The nominee will have clearly demonstrated a commitment to the pursuit of excellence.

The award will recognize any outstanding accomplishments in STEM fields, including scientific discovery, the development of creative technologies, new and advanced processes and systems, significant patent applications, novel prototypes, and other innovative contributions.

The nominee’s achievements should have a demonstrable impact on society through their effect on science, technology, industry, global leadership, or the inspiration of future generations.

Review Process

All eligible applications will be reviewed by the judging committee and the winner will be selected for the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence by mid-June 2024. All nominees will be notified and invited to attend the Innovators Gala in Houston, TX on August 17, 2024. The recipient of the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence will be awarded during the gala celebration.

Nominate an Astronaut Scholar

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    Note: Submitting a nomination/application does not guarantee an award.

For More Information

    Inquire via Email

    For more information about the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence, contact us at +1 407-362-7900 or info@astronautscholarship.org.

    Note: Neil Armstrong™ used with permission from The Purdue Research Foundation.


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