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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 Alumni. 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 Alumni 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 25, 2018 at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. with Keynote Speakers Gemini & Apollo Astronaut Dave Scott and Under Secretary of Defense of Research and Engineering Michael Griffin.

2018 Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence Honoree

Larry Bradley, PH.D. is a University of Central Florida Alumnus, a 1993 Astronaut Scholar Selectee and a current member of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation's Board of Directors.

Larry Bradley, Ph.D., is an astrophysicist and Sr. Systems Software Engineer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

His research focuses on the formation and evolution of galaxies in the very early universe, where he primarily studies high-redshift Lyman-break galaxies, including those gravitationally lensed by massive galaxy clusters.

He serves as the Technical Lead for the Data Analysis Tools Branch and the JWST Data Analysis Component Lead, where his responsibilities include developing data analysis tools for JWST and the wider astronomical community.

Larry obtained his Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the Johns Hopkins University. He serves as the Deputy Principal Investigator of the RELICS HST Treasury Program and is a member of the BoRG and CLASH science teams.

Thank You to Our Esteemed Judging Panel

Michael Griffin – Chair

Barbara Barrett

Eileen Collins

Kenneth Ford

Traver Kennedy

Scott Parazynski

James Rice

Meenakshi Wadhwa

Application Details and Criteria


  Nominee must be a past ASF Astronaut Scholar recipient.

  Nominee must be a U.S. citizen.

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

Application Deadline

All applications with completed documentation are due March 31, 2018 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 June 11, 2018. All nominees will be notified and invited to attend the Innovators Gala in Washington D.C. on August 25, 2018. The recipient of the Neil Armstrong™ Award of Excellence will be awarded during the gala celebration.

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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

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

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