On March 28, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced the 2016 Collier Trophy recipient. Like last year, this year’s winner is a space program. Though the competition was tight, Blue Origin’s New Shepard will be going home with some of the most prestigious hardware in aviation. But why?
Though it hasn’t yet reached its stated goal of carrying passengers to space, New Shepard has launched and landed a single rocket booster and engine in five successful test flights. “Blue Origin’s New Shepard program is remarkable,” said NAA Chairman Jim Albaugh, “Developing the first new large liquid hydrogen rocket engine in almost 20 years and demonstrating repeatable vertical takeoffs and landings makes the long sought after goal of low cost reusable rockets and access to space a reality.” The Trophy itself will be formally presented to Blue Origin later this year.