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Congressional Space Medal of Honor

The Congressional Space Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress in 1969 to recognize "any astronaut who in the performance of his duties has distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Nation and mankind."[1] The highest award given by NASA, it is awarded by the President of the United States in Congress's name on recommendations from the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The award is a separate decoration from the Medal of Honor, which is a military award for extreme bravery and gallantry in combat.

Congressional Space Medal of Honor
SpaceMOH.jpg
Congressional Space Medal of Honor
Awarded by the United States Congress
Country United States
Type Medal
Eligibility NASA astronauts
Awarded for "exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Nation and mankind"
Status Active
Statistics
Established September 29, 1969
First awarded October 1, 1978
Total awarded 28
Posthumous
awards
17
Precedence
Next (lower) NASA Distinguished Service Medal
CongSpaceRib.png
Congressional Space Medal of Honor ribbon
Neil Armstrong being awarded the first medal by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, with subsequent recipients Borman and Conrad seated.

Although the Congressional Space Medal of Honor is a civilian award of the United States government, it is authorized as a military decoration for display on U.S. military uniforms due to the prestige of the decoration. In such cases, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor is worn as a ribbon following all United States Armed Forces decorations.

To be awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, an astronaut must perform feats of extraordinary accomplishment while participating in space flight under the authority of NASA. Typically, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor is awarded for scientific discoveries or actions of tremendous benefit to mankind. The decoration may also be awarded for extreme bravery during a space emergency or in preventing a major space disaster. The Congressional Space Medal of Honor may also be presented posthumously to those astronauts who die while performing a US space mission; and as of 2017, all 17 astronauts killed on US missions have been awarded the medal.

U.S. President George W. Bush presented the most awards of the CSMOH, with 16 (of which 14 were posthumous for the two destroyed space shuttle flights, thus setting the standard for all astronauts killed in the line of duty receiving the award). The 12-year period from 1981-1993 was the longest gap between awards since its inception in 1978.

U.S. President Jimmy Carter - 6 presentations

U.S. President Ronald Reagan - 1 presentation

U.S. President George H.W. Bush - 1 presentation

U.S. President Bill Clinton - 4 presentations

U.S. President George W. Bush - 16 presentations

U.S. President Barack Obama - 0 presentations

U.S. President Donald Trump - 0 presentations

RecipientsEdit

Currently, 28 astronauts have been honored with the award; 17 of which were awarded posthumously for those who died in American spaceflight. Three died in the Apollo 1 fire, seven died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and seven in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. An asterisk indicates a posthumous award. Four of the twelve moonwalkers received the medal (Armstrong, Conrad, Shepherd, and Young), but only Neil Armstrong for his lunar mission. The New Nine class of U.S. astronauts has the most recipients of the medal, with seven.

As of September 2017, only seven recipients are living and five are over 80 years old. Frank Borman is the last living of the original six recipients who received the CSMOH in 1978. As of October 1, 2017 he held the award for 39 years.

Photo Name Date Awarded by Notes Ref(s)
  Armstrong, NeilNeil Armstrong (1930-2012) October 1, 1978 Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter Apollo 11 (Commander of the first lunar landing, first man to walk on the Moon) [1][2]
  Borman, FrankFrank Borman (1928-) October 1, 1978 Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter Apollo 8 (Commander of the first lunar orbit) [1][3]
  Conrad, PetePete Conrad (1930-1999) October 1, 1978 Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter Skylab 2 (first Skylab Commander; responsible for salvaging the critically malfunctioning station) [1][4]
  Glenn, JohnJohn Glenn (1921-2016) October 1, 1978 Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter Mercury-Atlas 6 (first American in orbit) [1][5]
  Grissom, GusGus Grissom* (1926-1967) October 1, 1978 Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter Apollo 1, Gemini 3 and Mercury-Redstone 4 (Commander of the first manned Gemini); died aboard Apollo 1 [1][6]
  Shepard, AlanAlan Shepard (1923-1998) October 1, 1978 Carter, JimmyJimmy Carter Mercury-Redstone 3 (first American in space) [1][7]
  Young, JohnJohn Young (1930-) May 19, 1981 Reagan, RonaldRonald Reagan STS-1 (Commander of the first shuttle flight) [1][8]
  Stafford, Thomas P.Thomas P. Stafford (1930-) January 19, 1993 Bush, George H. W.George H. W. Bush Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (U.S. Commander) [1][9]
  Lovell, JimJim Lovell (1928-) July 26, 1995 Clinton, BillBill Clinton Apollo 13 (Commander of the ill-fated mission) [1][10]
  Lucid, ShannonShannon Lucid (1943-) December 2, 1996 Clinton, BillBill Clinton Longest female spaceflight (passed by Sunita Williams) [1][11]
  Chaffee, RogerRoger Chaffee* (1935-1967) December 17, 1997 Clinton, BillBill Clinton Died aboard Apollo 1 [1][12]
  White, EdwardEdward White* (1930-1967) December 17, 1997 Clinton, BillBill Clinton Apollo 1 and Gemini 4 (first U.S. space walk); died aboard Apollo 1 [1][12]
  Shepherd, WilliamWilliam Shepherd (1949-) January 15, 2003 Bush, George W.George W. Bush Expedition 1 (first ISS Commander) [1][13]
  Husband, RickRick Husband* (1957-2003) February 3, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-107 (died aboard Columbia) [1][14]
  McCool, WillieWillie McCool* (1961-2003) February 3, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-107 (died aboard Columbia) [1][14]
  Anderson, Michael P.Michael P. Anderson* (1959-2003) February 3, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-107 (died aboard Columbia) [1][14]
  Chawla, KalpanaKalpana Chawla* (1962-2003) February 3, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-107 (died aboard Columbia) [1][14]
  Brown, David M.David M. Brown* (1956-2003) February 3, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-107 (died aboard Columbia) [1][14]
  Clark, Laurel B.Laurel B. Clark* (1961-2003) February 3, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-107 (died aboard Columbia) [1][14]
  Ramon, IlanIlan Ramon* (1954-2003) February 3, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-107 (died aboard Columbia, only non-U.S. citizen recipient) [1][15]
  Scobee, DickDick Scobee* (1939-1986) July 23, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-51-L (died aboard Challenger) [1][16]
  Smith, Michael J.Michael J. Smith* (1945-1986) July 23, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-51-L (died aboard Challenger) [1][16]
  Resnik, JudithJudith Resnik* (1949-1986) July 23, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-51-L (died aboard Challenger) [1][16]
  McNair, RonaldRonald McNair* (1950-1986) July 23, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-51-L (died aboard Challenger) [1][16]
  Onizuka, EllisonEllison Onizuka* (1946-1986) July 23, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-51-L (died aboard Challenger) [1][16]
  Jarvis, GregoryGregory Jarvis* (1944-1986) July 23, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-51-L (died aboard Challenger) [1][16]
  McAuliffe, ChristaChrista McAuliffe* (1948-1986) July 23, 2004 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-51-L (died aboard Challenger, teacher) [1][16]
  Crippen, RobertRobert Crippen (1937-) April 26, 2006 Bush, George W.George W. Bush STS-1 (first shuttle flight, Pilot) [1][17]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac "Congressional Space Medal of Honor". NASA. April 28, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  2. ^ Hubbard, Ben. Neil Armstrong and Getting to the Moon. Capstone. ISBN 9781484625200. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "International Space Hall of Fame :: New Mexico Museum of Space History  :: Inductee Profile". www.nmspacemuseum.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  4. ^ "International Space Hall of Fame :: New Mexico Museum of Space History  :: Inductee Profile". www.nmspacemuseum.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "President Obama Awards John Glenn with Medal of Freedom - SpaceNews.com". SpaceNews.com. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Gus Grissom: Remembering NASA’s ‘Forgotten’ Astronaut". AmericaSpace. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  7. ^ "International Space Hall of Fame :: New Mexico Museum of Space History  :: Inductee Profile". www.nmspacemuseum.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "National Space Grant Distinguished Service Award - 2007 | National Space Grant Foundation". www.spacegrant.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  9. ^ "Moon Rock to be Awarded to Apollo-Soyuz Astronaut Thomas Stafford". Space.com. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Astronaut Jim Lovell Honored by Harvard | Space Foundation". www.spacefoundation.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Press, From Associated (3 December 1996). "1st Woman Wins Space Medal of Honor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  12. ^ a b "William J. Clinton: Remarks on Presenting the Congressional Space Medal of Honor Posthumously to Roger B. Chaffee and Edward H. White II". www.presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  13. ^ "International Space Hall of Fame :: New Mexico Museum of Space History  :: Inductee Profile". www.nmspacemuseum.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f Learning, Jones & Bartlett. Exploring Space: The High Frontier. Jones & Bartlett Learning. ISBN 9780763789619. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  15. ^ "Ilan Ramon took tragic reminders, hope into space". AAAS - The World's Largest General Scientific Society. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Our SpaceFlight Heritage: 29th anniversary of Challenger disaster - SpaceFlight Insider". www.spaceflightinsider.com. Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  17. ^ "Former astronaut Robert Crippen is honored". phys.org. Retrieved 7 May 2017.