Poll: Which One Should Win The Collier Trophy?


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  1. The Collier Trophy is awarded to those who have made “the greatest achievements in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air and space vehicles…..”

    That is best exemplified by Garmin Autoland–AND Spacex Falcon and Dragon.

    Autoland is a big step–yet it is evolutionary. It’s important to us in General Aviation, but not so much with the majority of air travelers–most of whom fly on aircraft with multiple crewmembers.

    SpaceX –by comparison, affect far more people than General Aviation. Which one exhibits “improving the performance”? Autoland doesn’t improve performance–SpaceX had to invent an entirely new SYSTEM–the concept–the rocket–the orbital vehicle–the testing–and the manufacturing. In effect, it had to re-invent a space program that had been dormant for decades.

    “Efficiency”? Autoland isn’t more “efficient”. SpaceX IS more efficient–by privatizing space flight, the manufacturing, and the concept, it has made putting satellites and crews into orbit considerably more cost-effective–think of putting 140 small satellites in space on one launch–or beating giant Boeing into the first private space flights.

    SAFETY–remains to be seen–there are too few “events” to calculate a trend. Autoland has yet to do an actual “save”–and with relatively few aircraft equipped, it will likely take a while to do so. Similarly–SpaceX has a pretty good record of non-test vehicles.

    It’s a close race, as I write this, it is a virtual tie–41 to 42. I’d give the nod to SpaceX–for its performance. The “young upstart” did what it was supposed to do–unlike competitor Boeing. It not only built the hardware, but it pioneered the very concept of private space flight. In doing so, it accomplished something not even NASA has been able to do—“on time–on budget.”

  2. Well, rats! I logged in to write exactly the same analysis, point-for-point. Space-X deserves it, no question.