US Airways Flight 1549 Crew and Christopher Kraft Honored with the National Air and Space Museum’s 2010 Trophy Awards

March 24, 2010
News Release

The 2010 Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Trophy will be awarded this year to the flight crew of US Airways Flight 1549 and to Christopher C. Kraft Jr., NASA’s first flight director for human spaceflight. The US Airways crew will receive the Trophy for Current Achievement and Kraft will receive it for Lifetime Achievement. They will be presented their awards April 28.

Established in 1985, the award recognizes outstanding achievements in the fields and history of aerospace science and technology. As in past years, Trophy winners receive a miniature version of “The Web of Space,” a sculpture by artist John Safer.

“The annual Trophy awards are the National Air and Space Museum’s highest honor; they recognize both past and present achievements in aviation and space technology,” said Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian. “This year’s recipients have demonstrated courage, conviction and dedication—setting an example for all to follow.”

“The winners of the 2010 Trophy Awards demonstrate that training and teamwork are the key to successful outcomes,” said Gen. John R. “Jack” Dailey, director of the museum. “Lifetime Achievement winner Chris Kraft’s most important contribution to manned spaceflight is his origination of the concept of a Mission Control Center, and the Current Achievement winners, US Airways crew 1549, showed the world how to react under stress; their competence in the face of danger is an inspiring example.”

This year, for the first time, the museum will host an online conference with the 2010 Trophy winners, which will allow the general public, teachers and students to interact with the award recipients and Smithsonian experts. Participants will be able to submit questions in advance via e-mail or in real time during the program. The conference is free but registration is required; for more information about the schedule and registration, go to:

2010 Trophy Award Winners and Categories
The Current Achievement Trophy will be awarded to Capt. Chesley B. Sullenberger III and the flight crew of US Airways Flight 1549: first officer, Jeffrey B. Skiles; flight attendants: Sheila Dail, Donna Dent and Doreen Welsh. This flight crew performed exceptionally Jan. 15, 2009, when their Airbus A320 jetliner became disabled over New York City after flying through a flock of Canada geese. Capt. Sullenberger masterfully guided the powerless aircraft to an emergency “landing” on the Hudson River, and the crew quickly and safely evacuated all 150 passengers and themselves. The successful end to US Airways Flight 1549 without fatalities lasted only a few minutes, but this heroic achievement exemplified the value of training, experience and professionalism in commercial aviation.

The Lifetime Achievement Trophy will be presented to Kraft, NASA’s first flight director for human spaceflight. His long and distinguished career of technical and managerial achievements began in 1944 when he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at Langley Field, Va., until it was absorbed into NASA in 1958. That year he joined the NASA Space Task Group, charged with sending American astronauts into space. Appointed as flight director, Kraft shaped the character of Mission Control. He was on duty in Houston during the dramatic Gemini and Apollo flights of the 1960s and early 1970s. In 1972 he became director of the Manned Spacecraft Center (Johnson Space Center), a post he held during the formative years of the Space Shuttle until his retirement in 1982 to become an aerospace consultant.

More information about the National Air and Space Museum Trophy and a complete list of past winners are available at

The National Air and Space Museum building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is located at Sixth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. The museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located in Chantilly, Va., near Washington Dulles International Airport. Both facilities are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free, but there is a $15 fee for parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center.

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