US Dept. of the Air Force-Boeing X-37B team wins Collier Trophy

National Aeronautic Association recognizes autonomous spaceplane that completed two-year orbital mission.

X-37B shown with Robert J. Collier Trophy displayed permanently at the National Air and Space Museum
U.S. Space Force, National Aeronautic Association

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has named the United States Department of the Air Force – Boeing X-37B team as the recipient of the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… developing and employing the world’s only reusable, autonomous spaceplane, which logged more than 2,865 days in orbit across five missions, changing access to space and serving as the nation’s workhorse in space experimentation and technology.”

The Collier Trophy is awarded annually for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, for improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.

“The X-37B team should be commended for their accomplishments over the last decade and more importantly for what they accomplished in 2019,” said NAA Chairman Jim Albaugh.

The X-37B set a new 780-day on-orbit endurance record and completed an overflight of the United States, using Federal Aviation Administration airspace, before making a pinpoint landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

Originally designed for missions of 270 days, the X-37B has set endurance records during each of its five previous flights. Its first mission launched in 2010.

Built by Boeing, operated in partnership with the U.S. Space Force, and managed by the U.S. Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the X-37B uncrewed space test platform is designed to carry experiments to orbit and return them to Earth for evaluation.

Boeing facilitates the integration of experiments into the X-37B system and helps identify future reusable-platform experiment opportunities for each mission.

"Underscoring the importance of space to the nation, the Collier Trophy celebrates the record-setting mission of the X-37B," said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett. "Most Americans use space daily for navigation, information, and communication. Sophisticated and uncrewed, the X-37B advances reusable spaceplane technologies."

"The X-37B team win of the 2019 National Aeronautic Association, Robert J. Collier Trophy exemplifies the kind of lean, agile, and innovative technological development our nation needs to secure its interests," said U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John "Jay" Raymond.

"We are truly honored that the women and men of the X-37B team are being recognized with the Collier Trophy," said Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret. "Not only have they earned a place among our industry's legends through their commitment to innovation and performance, but their accomplishments will influence the next generation of space and aerospace development for the benefit of all humanity."

This is the ninth Collier Trophy shared by the U.S Department of the Air Force and its forerunners, and Boeing and its legacy companies. X-37B is the 33rd Boeing effort to receive a Collier.

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