In 1992, Congress authorized the Secretary of Commerce to bestow a Commercial Space Achievement Award to individuals or companies that have made substantial contributions to U.S. space commerce. The award consists of a medal and a possible cash prize.
To date, the award has not been presented to anyone. The Office of Space Commercialization is considering ways to leverage the Department’s award authority to incentivize U.S. businesses to invest in and develop commercial space capabilities and services.
The award authority is codified as Title 51 of the U.S. Code, Section 50506.
§ 50506. Commercial Space Achievement Award
(a) Establishment.—There is established a Commercial Space Achievement Award. The award shall consist of a medal, which shall be of such design and materials and bear such inscriptions as determined by the Secretary of Commerce. A cash prize may also be awarded if funding for the prize is available under subsection (d).
(b) Criteria for award.—The Secretary of Commerce shall periodically make awards under this section to individuals, corporations, corporate divisions, or corporate subsidiaries substantially engaged in commercial space activities that in the opinion of the Secretary of Commerce best meet the following criteria:
- (1) Non-governmental revenue.——For corporate entities, at least half of the revenues from the space-related activities of the corporation, division, or subsidiary is derived from sources other than the United States Government.
- (2) Substantial contribution.—The activities and achievements of the individual, corporation, division, or subsidiary have substantially contributed to the United States gross national product and the stature of United States industry in international markets, with due consideration for both the economic magnitude and the technical quality of the activities and achievements.
- (3) Substantial advancement of technology.—The individual, corporation, division, or subsidiary has substantially advanced space technology and space applications directly related to commercial space activities.
(c) Limitations.—No individual or corporate entity may receive an award under this section more than once every 5 years.
(d) Funding for award.—The Secretary of Commerce may seek and accept gifts of money from public and private sources for the purpose of making cash prize awards under this section. Such money may be used only for that purpose, and only such money may be used for that purpose. The Secretary of Commerce shall make publicly available an itemized list of the sources of such funding.