Space Foundation News

A. Thomas Young Receives 2014 General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award

Written by: developer

A. Thomas Young was honored on May 21 at the 30th Space Symposium as the 2014 recipient of the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award. The luncheon is a featured event of the Space Foundation’s annual Space Symposium, held at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Named for the Space Foundation’s former, long-time chairman, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award is one of the global space community’s highest honors. Past recipients have included Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Norman Augustine and Dr. Sally Ride, among others.

The award recognizes outstanding lifetime contributions to the betterment of humankind through the exploration, development and use of space, or through use of space technology, information or resources. Tickets for the award luncheon can be purchased by Space Symposium attendees at

About Young
During his 20 years at NASA, Young managed numerous technically challenging programs including serving as the mission director of the 1976 Viking landings on Mars. He held a variety of critical leadership positions at the agency, including: deputy director of the Ames Research Center; director, Planetary Program, Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters; and director of the Goddard Spaceflight Center. In the course of his NASA service, he received numerous awards and decorations, including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (for his contributions to the Voyager Program), the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award, the Distinguished Executive Award and NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal.

Young joined Martin Marietta Corporation in 1982 as vice president of aerospace research, and within eight years, he rose to become president and chief operating officer of the company. With Martin Marietta’s merger with Lockheed Martin, he was appointed to the position of executive vice president of the new Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Since his retirement from Lockheed Martin, Young has remained active across a broad range of scientific, technical and educational endeavors. He is president of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Foundation and a member of the Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Astronautical Society and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Over the course of the last 10-15 years, Young has become the “go-to-guy” to lead reviews of troubled space programs and examinations of critical space policy, organization and management issues. These have included: chairing the NASA Mars Independent Assessment Team (2000); the International Space Station Management and Cost Evaluation Committee (2001); the Defense Science Board (DSB)/Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (AFSAB) review of the Acquisition of National Security Space Programs (2003); the CSIS study of the Health of the US Industrial Base and the Impact of Export Controls (2008); the Congressionally-mandated review of the Organization and Management of National Security Space (2008), and most recently, the Independent Review Team examination of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) and the independent review of NOAA’s weather satellite enterprise.
Young received his Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering and Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degrees in 1961 from the University of Virginia, and a Master of Management degree in 1972 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Sloan Fellow.

Pictured: A. Thomas Young accepting the 2014 General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, and with NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin.