Jean-Jacques Dordain to Receive the AIAA 2015 Goddard Astronautics Award Written 30 March 2015



Jean-Jacques Dordain to Receive the AIAA 2015 Goddard Astronautics Award
Honored for Outstanding Vision and Leadership in Space Exploration

March 30, 2015 – Reston, Va. – Jean-Jacques Dordain, an AIAA Associate Fellow, and director general of the European Space Agency (ESA), Paris, France, has won the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 2015 Goddard Astronautics Award. Dordain will receive the award during the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala, May 6, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

The award honors Dordain’s “outstanding vision and leadership in space exploration particularly during the past eleven years as Director General of the European Space Agency.”

Dordain joined ESA in 1986, after leaving the French National Office for Aerospace Studies and Research (ONERA) where he was the Director of Fundamental Physics. After joining ESA, he led the agency’s newly created Department for the Promotion and Utilisation of the International Space Station. From 1993 to 2002, Dordain held several positions within ESA, including Director of Strategy Planning and International Policy, Director of Strategy and Technical Assessment, and Director of Launchers. He became Director General of ESA in 2003, and has served two terms in that position.

“Jean-Jacques Dordain’s leadership of ESA has been critical not only to expanding European exploration of space, but also in building the international partnerships necessary to sustain exploration efforts with all spacefaring nations,” said Sandra Magnus, AIAA executive director. “On behalf of AIAA and our members, I congratulate Mr. Dordain on his receipt of the Goddard Astronautics Award, and thank him for his dedication to expanding humanity’s knowledge of the universe we inhabit.”

Dordain has overseen a long string of successful Ariane launches carrying important space science missions, such as the Rosetta comet chaser (2004) and the Herschel and Planck cosmic explorers (2009), as well as the placement of the Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station in 2008. Additionally, he oversaw the successful launches and on-orbit placements of the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite (2009), the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite (2009) and the CryoSat-2 (2010) Earth observation satellite – which have provided valuable data on the state of the world’s soil and oceans. He also oversaw the first launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket from French Guiana, carrying the Proba-V vegetation observing satellite, as well as the technical development of the EU’s Galileo and Copernicus satellite systems.

Dordain has also grown ESA’s membership to include 22 European States, and has cemented several public-private partnerships with industry and commercial operators, as well as making sustained outreach to the defense sector.

Dordain’s other honors include the Russian Federation’s Order of Friendship and the Officer’s Cross in the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He is also an Officer of the French Legion of Honor and the Ordre National du Merit, a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and Commander in the Order of Orange–Nassau of the Netherlands.

The Goddard Astronautics Award is the highest honor AIAA bestows for notable achievements in the field of astronautics. It was endowed by Mrs. Goddard to commemorate her husband, Robert H. Goddard – rocket visionary, pioneer, bold experimentalist, and superb engineer, whose early liquid rocket engine launches set the stage for the development of astronautics.

For more information on the Goddard Astronautics Award, or the AIAA Honors and Awards program, please contact Carol Stewart at 703.264.7623 or


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