Space Foundation Press Releases

Dr. Hans Mark Named 2008 Recipient of Gen. James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 16, 2008) — The Space Foundation Board of Directors has selected The Honorable Hans Mark, Ph.D., for the Foundation’s highest honor – the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award. The award will be presented at a special luncheon event on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 during the 24th National Space Symposium. The National Space Symposium, the premier annual gathering of the global space community, will take place April 7-10 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Boeing is the co-sponsor of this year’s Hill Award Luncheon.

“It is an especially meaningful honor for the Space Foundation to present Dr. Mark with the Hill Award,” said Space Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Pulham. “In addition to spending his life’s work advancing the exploration and development of space from academia to public service, Dr. Mark was a close friend and colleague of our late chairman, General Jim Hill, in whose honor we give this award. Their work to establish Air Force Space Command set the groundwork for the organization that serves our nation today and gave impetus to the birth of the Space Foundation. Dr. Mark’s remarkable achievements warrant his place in space history and alongside previous legendary recipients of the Hill Award.”

Mark was selected in recognition of his role in significantly and positively shaping space policy and the space industry by championing space exploration through interdisciplinary research, public service, and dedication to education over more than 50 years. Mark’s contributions to the space industry are as diverse as they are critical to both national security and civilian space programs today. They include supervising the development of the Pioneer Jupiter/Saturn probes; establishing Air Force Space Command; committing funding to develop the Global Positioning System (GPS); initiating U.S. involvement in the International Space Station (ISS) program; and conducting groundbreaking research in many areas. 


The Space Foundation annually presents the Hill award in honor of its late, long-time chairman, General James E. Hill, USAF (Retired). The award recognizes outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves through lifetime contributions to the welfare or betterment of humankind through the exploration, development, and use of space, or the use of space technology, information, themes, or resources in academic, cultural, industrial, or other pursuits of broad benefit to humanity. Nominations are solicited from throughout the space industry worldwide, and the board of directors of the Space Foundation selects the honoree.


Born in Mannheim, Germany, in 1929, Mark and his family escaped Nazi Germany, coming to the United States in 1940. After becoming an American citizen in 1945, Mark earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1951 and a Ph.D. in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1954.


Mark’s experience ranges from academia and research to senior positions within NASA and the Department of Defense, including serving as secretary of the U.S. Air Force (1979 – 1981) and deputy administrator of NASA (1981 -1984). Mark was also director of NASA’s Ames Research Center from 1969 – 1977, before being appointed undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office. As Air Force Secretary, Mark created Air Force Space Command and committed the Air Force to funding GPS. During his time as deputy administrator of NASA, he supervised the first 13 space shuttle flights and the start of the United States’ involvement in the ISS program.


Throughout his career, Mark has taught, conducted research, and held a number of presidential appointments. After his graduate studies, he served as a research associate and acting head of the Neutron Physics Group, Laboratory for Nuclear Science, until 1955. He then joined the University of California at Berkeley as a research physicist at the university’s Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Livermore, and, subsequently, became chairman of the university’s department of nuclear engineering and administrator of the Berkeley Research reactor until moving to Ames. Following years of public service, Mark rejoined the academic community in 1984 as chancellor of The University of Texas system where he served until 1992. In 1988, Mark became a member of the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin where he taught until 1998, when he was named director of defense research and engineering for the Department of Defense.


Since 2001, Mark has taught and conducted research at The University of Texas at Austin, and is a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics and the John J. McKetta Centennial Energy Chair in Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He has written and edited numerous books and technical papers and received recognition for his work in many areas. His honors include election to the National Academy of Engineering in 1976, multiple NASA Distinguished Service Medals (1972 and 1977), NASA medals for Outstanding Leadership, Exceptional Scientific Achievement and Exceptional Engineering Achievement (1984), the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal (1981), U.S. Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal (1979), and the U.S. Navy Distinguished Public Service Medal (2007).


This year marks the seventh annual presentation of the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award. Previous award recipients are Norman R. Augustine, Capt. James Lovell, Jr., USN (Retired), Gen. Bernard A. Schriever, USAF (Retired), Edward C. “Pete” Aldridge, Jr., Buzz Aldrin, Ph.D., Col. USAF (Retired), and Simon Ramo, Ph.D.

The National Space Symposium brings together all sectors of space – civil, commercial, and national security – to highlight the accomplishments and address the opportunities and issues facing the space industry today. This symposium’s theme “Our Expanding Universe…50 Years of Space Exploration” reflects our continued efforts and advancement in space while acknowledging how far the space industry has come in the last 50 years. The theme and accompanying artwork will be carried throughout the symposium from the exhibit center to a program agenda featuring leaders from across the space industry. 

More than 7,500 registrants, guests, speakers, exhibitors, and media from across the United States and many foreign countries are expected to attend the 24th National Space Symposium. Participants, who represent both the history and future of this $220 billion industry, include senior executive leadership from NASA, NOAA, and other civil space and government agencies; the commercial space and satellite broadcasting industry; the Department of Defense and military space commands; space entrepreneurs; universities and academia; and senior representatives from the global space industry.

Highlights of the 24th National Space Symposium also include the extensive Lockheed Martin Exhibit Center; a noteworthy program agenda; a spectacular opening ceremony and awards; and the 20th anniversary Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner, honoring technologies, organizations, and individuals for transforming space technology into commercial products that improve life on Earth.

Co-sponsors of the symposium include ATK, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boeing, Cisco Systems, CSP Associates, Harris Corporation, Honeywell, Infinite Links, ITT, Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Raytheon, Space Florida, and United Space Alliance. Media partners for the 24th National Space Symposium are Aviation Week, The New York Times and Space News. Frontier Airlines is the official airline of the conference.

Online registration and more information, including an updated program agenda, confirmed speaker list, and exhibitor list, are available at

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983 and celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Space Foundation is an international nonprofit organization advancing space-related endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity. A leader in space awareness activities, major industry events, and educational enterprises that bring space into the classroom, the Space Foundation is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. It conducts research and analysis and government affairs activities from its Washington, D.C. office, and has field representatives in Houston and Cape Canaveral, Fla. Along with partnering organizations, the Space Foundation also conducts Strategic Space and Defense 2008, scheduled 6-8 October in Omaha, Neb. For more information, visit