We’ve made our picks…

The SpaceNews Awards are held each year to recognize achievements in space commerce, exploration and stewardship.
Since 2017, the SpaceNews editorial staff has selected 40 individuals and organizations embodying the hard work and innovation propelling the space industry to unparalleled levels of activity.

2021 has seen a record number of private astronauts making their way to space — and a record number of space startups making their way to Wall Street.

Our first two SpaceNews Awards selections for 2021 recognize the Private Astronaut and the SPAC merger for epitomizing the year’s ups and downs.

More than 20 private astronauts individuals on suborbital and orbital flights not conducted on behalf of government — have gone up and back in 2021. Kudos to the billionaires who made this possible but especially the non-billionaires like Wally Funk, William Shatner, Sian Proctor, Chris Sembroski and Hayley Arcenaux who showed that everyone from tubby 90-year-olds to 29-year-olds with prosthetic body parts can make the trip.

Since fall 2020, a dozen space companies have elected to go public by merging with special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Investor appetite for SPACs has allowed more than a half dozen space startups to raise hundreds of millions of dollars each. Without a doubt, the SPAC merger has been the deal of the year.

The rest of 2021’s winners…


SpaceNews will announce all of this year’s award recipients Monday, Dec. 6 with an online presentation and profiles in the December issue of the magazine.


This year’s winners will be invited to join SpaceNews journalists for an online panel discussion of 2021’s defining moments and what lies ahead.

While we had hoped to return to an in-person format for this year’s awards, we’re thrilled that many more can join us online to recognize 2021’s award winners.