Legendary Space Leader and Innovator to Accept Honor at Austin Space Conference Nov. 5
New Worlds announced today that Dr. PeteWorden will be the recipient of the inaugural Space Cowboy Award to be presented at the first annual Space Cowboy Gala Nov. 5 at the Austin Renaissance Hotel. Dr. Worden will be honored for his role in pioneering and supporting the technologies, concepts and innovators which created the New Space revolution or Frontier Movement, made familiar to the public in the projects of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and the new generation of commercial space companies opening space to human settlement.
“Pete is a one of a kind disruptor and leader in the space community, a guy who doesn’t take credit but deserves a lot,” said Rick Tumlinson, Co-founder of New Worlds. “He has worked for decades within the government and now outside of it to both make things happen and to support others to do so. The entire space revolution now underway has his fingerprints on it, and many of the projects and companies who are paving the way into space either got their start, their ideas, their technologies or their first shot from Pete or an organization he helped create.”
The Space Cowboy Award is presented to that person who has ridden out ahead of their field or community and made significant contributions to the opening of the frontier. Their work, spirit and legacy have helped tame technologies, broken down the risks or driven forward the culture or community in the name of settlement. The Space Cowboy is an individual—sometimes a loner, always a leader—who is always ranging far ahead of their peers, calling out challenges and drawing on their imaginations, talent and grit to blaze a trail into the future.
“The sorts of projects Pete has led or supported are exactly those we need to be able to get to and from space efficiently and cheaply--and to be able to live and work there when we do,” said Dr. Phil Metzger, New Worlds Research Director and professor of Astrophysics at the University of Central Florida. “He has an in depth understanding of what we need to do the job, and without fanfare he puts together the teams and people to make it happen, over and over again.”
Dr. Worden’s resume is exhaustive. Notably, he put together the Clementine lunar probe mission that helped verify the existence of water on the poles of the Moon. Pete also led the U.S. Air Force’s DC-X vertical take off and landing program in the 1990s that paved the way for the systems now being used by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin and others. He then became a Congressional Fellow, followed by assuming the role of Center Director at Silicon Valley’s NASA Ames Research Center. Under his leadership Ames became a center and incubator for innovative new space companies and projects, giving an early home to such companies as Moon Express (the first commercial company to get permission to fly to the Moon), Made in Space (the first company to fly a 3D printer in space), Deep Space Industries (one of the world’s first asteroid resource companies), Singularity University and many others.
Pushing the boundaries of human experience and exploration even further, Dr. Worden now heads the Breakthrough Prize Foundation based in Mountain View, California. The organization is developing the technologies to send the first mission to another Solar System while supporting a wide array of innovative space activities around the globe.
The award will be presented at the First Annual Space Cowboy Gala and Ball, to be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin, Texas on November 5th as part of the New Worlds Conference and Symposium. The Gala is a fundraiser for New World’s educational initiatives and will feature space themed costumes, music and dancing. Festivities will begin at 7 p.m. The Space Settlement Symposium runs Friday and Saturday, November 4th and 5th at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Dr. Worden is also the featured guest of the Conference’s “Let’s Do Launch” VIP Luncheon event on Saturday Nov. 5 at 12:30, where he will discuss the Breakthrough Foundation and its planned interstellar missions.