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Collier Trophy Goes to Osiris-Rex Team

Sniping a Moving Asteroid is Quite a Feat, and Bringing A Trophy Home? Even More So

The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the 2023 Robert J. Collier Trophy to a NASA program that saw a prop head to an asteroid and back on the OSIRIS-REX mission.

The mission has the usual NASA vibe, where it sounded as if they started off with a cool-sounding name and used it as a backronym, but it stands for "Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx)". Whether the name or the acronym came first is unimportant now that they've gotten results, and the NAA is glad to acknowledge them. The Robert J. Collier Trophy has been awarded annually since 1911 for the 'greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America with respect to 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 mission certainly checks those boxes, since it managed to snipe a moving asteroid, carve out a sample, and return it to Earth.

"The NAA is proud to present this year's Collier award to the OSIRIS-REx Team," said Jim Albaugh, NAA Board Chair. "Their seven-year journey to an asteroid and back will help mankind better understand the universe in which we live. The complexity of this mission and the technologies applied certainly warrant this recognition."

"Congratulations to the OSIRIS-REx team on this well-deserved honor," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "By successfully designing, building, and carrying out the first U.S. mission to collect an asteroid sample, NASA proved once again that we do big things. Things that inspire the world. We look forward to the incredible science to come that will tell us more about our solar system, and help protect humanity here on Earth."

"In the true embodiment of the Collier Trophy spirit, our team, together with our partners, approached every step of OSIRIS-REx with the resolve, tenacity, and creativity necessary to execute this mission of unlocking the mysteries of our universe," said Robert Lightfoot, President, Lockheed Martin Space. "We are immensely grateful for this honor and are humbled to be alongside so many remarkable historic achievements in aerospace."

FMI: www.naa.aero

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