AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala to Confer Top Honors

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) announces the 2021 recipients of its most prestigious awards. The AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala is an annual event recognizing the most influential and inspiring individuals in aerospace whose outstanding contributions merit the highest accolades. Presentation of these premier awards will take place on Thurs., Aug. 12, 2021, at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala. This will be a virtual event.

“Congratulations to our premier award winners,” says AIAA president, Basil Hassan. “We are inspired by their hard work, skill and achievements, and we thank them for their dedication to the aerospace industry. AIAA is committed to ensuring that aerospace professionals are recognized and celebrated for their achievements, innovations and discoveries that make the world safer, more connected, more accessible and more prosperous. I’m excited to recognize these trailblazers at the virtual AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala in August!”

The 2021 winners are:

  • AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award — Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, U.S. Air Force (retired)
  • AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award — Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft Company
  • AIAA Distinguished Service Award — Merri J. Sanchez, The Aerospace Corporation
  • AIAA International Cooperation Award — Michael Watkins, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Michael A. Gross, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Frank Flechtner, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences; and Albert Zaglauer, Airbus Defence and Space
  • AIAA Public Service Award — Marcia S. Smith,
  • AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award — Benjamin Jorns, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • AIAA Engineer of the Year — Humberto Silva III, Sandia National Laboratories
  • AIAA Educator Achievement Award — Suzanne Banas, South Miami Middle Community School, Miami, FL; Leesa Hubbard, W.A. Wright Elementary, Mt. Juliet, TN; Mark Westlake, Saint Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights, MN

The award citations and the full release are available at

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