Pioneer Award2024-04-08T07:53:35+02:00

The SGAC Pioneer Award


In 2018, SGAC decided to create a new award to recognize those who truly go above and beyond in their work for our organization. The Pioneer Award was created, and consists of a special pin with a certificate that states the accomplishments of the recipient, along with recognition on the SGAC website.

The award was named “Pioneer” since it reflects the innovative and adventurous spirit of SGAC, and the recipients are those select few who personify the values of our organization and have consistently gone above and beyond in fulfilling our mission. These space pioneers represent our “best of the best”, and are selected through a nomination process and independent review board, with a handful of SGAC members ultimately being eligible for the award.

Pioneer Awards are assessed twice a year: in Spring and Autumn

Nominations are currently closed.


Eligibility criteria

SGAC Pioneer awardees are:

  • SGAC members (with a registered account on our website) who care about the SGAC mission and vision, aged below 36 years and 6 months on the nomination date
  • SGAC members with a track history of contributions to SGAC, along with their most recent role(s)
  • SGAC members who reflect the values of the award – Creativity, Innovation, Empowerment, Moving the organisation forward

Number of Awards

  • An awardee may receive the award only once
  • Not more than four awards are conferred each year

The intent of the Pioneer Award is to provide additional recognition to members who represent the organization’ ‘best of the best’ for their professional development.

The award is presented to an SGAC member that:

  • Demonstrates ongoing support and genuine care for promoting the organisation,
  • Is actively involved in SGAC volunteering roles, supporting space events and activities, empowering young space professionals and students in pursuing their space career development.

Eligibility rules:

  • The history of the person’s contribution to SGAC should be considered, along with their most recent role(s).
  • The award should never be given for pure completion of a particular role or project – rather for the attributes displayed in the person’s work that reflect the values of the award such as creativity, innovation, moving the organization forward etc..
  • The award shall never be given to a current or former SGAC Chair or Paid Staff – the intent is to recognize members. Members who are running for Chair or in the process of applying for a paid position are eligible until they are elected or appointed to Chair/Paid Staff.
  • Members are eligible for the award up to 6 months after they age out of the organization and become alumni (allows for someone to be eligible for consideration if they achieved accomplishments right before they aged out).

Nomination and Selection Rules

The nomination is encouraged for the wider SGAC community.

The Jury Panel is formed of 7 members:

  • SGAC Executive Director (1)
  • SGAC Co-Chairs (2)
  • SGAC Executive Committee representatives (4)

Evaluation Process

The Jury Panel evaluates and selects the winner, providing rationales for the choices based on the independent assessment process of each nomination.



1 February – 15 March: Call for nominations is open
15 February – 15 March: Call for 4 judges
16 March – 30 March: Nominees are contacted for additional information
1 April – 14 April: Evaluation period
15 April: Announcement and notice to the awardee
30 April: Announcement is published on the SGAC website and on social media

Autumn / Winter

1 September – 15 October: Call for nominations is open
15 September – 15 October: Call for judges
16 October – 30 October: Nominees are contacted for additional information
1 November – 14 November: Evaluation period
15 November: Announcement and notice to the awardee
30 November: Announcement is published on the SGAC website and on social media

December 2023

August 2023

Pioneer Award: Yulia Akisheva

August 18th, 2023|Tags: , , |

Yulia Akisheva is an aerospace engineer by training currently finishing a PhD in Protective Use of Regolith for Planetary and Lunar Exploration, or PURPLE in short. This PhD is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA), TRAD Tests & Radiations and ISAE-SUPAERO under the ESA OSIP collaboration platform.

July 2023

Pioneer Award: Matej Poliaček

July 12th, 2023|Tags: , |

Matej is currently working in the ISS Flight Operations, as a member of the Columbus Flight Control team, responsible for the commanding and monitoring of the Columbus systems and payloads, as well as providing support to the astronaut crew and other flight control positions in regards to technical aspects of the module.

December 2022

September 2022

Pioneer Award: Tasman Powis

September 6th, 2022|Tags: , |

In 2012, Tasman attended his first SGAC event, the SGC in Naples, and said that after the event; “I knew the SGAC was something I needed to be a part of. Through the SGC and IAC, I learned very quickly that my passion lay within the engineering and science that made space travel a reality.”

July 2021

December 2020

Pioneer Award: Tania Robles

December 30th, 2020|Tags: , , |

Tania Robles is a Mechanical Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She is co-founder and former director of the Aerospace Association of the Engineering School at UNAM. National Point of Contact of SGAC in Mexico from 2016 to 2019, and current Regional Coordinator of the  NCAC region.

April 2020

January 2020

October 2019

October 2018

June 2018

April 2018

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