December 9, 2013 (FDSC PR) — Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), has been named the 2013 winner of the Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) Bumper Award. Named after the first rocket launched from Florida (on July 24, 1950), the Bumper Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have had the greatest positive impact on Florida’s space industry, or Floridians who have had the greatest impact nationally.
“Under Gwynne Shotwell’s leadership, SpaceX has become a force for positive change at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, disrupting the status quo for NASA, Air Force, and the commercial launch industry,” said FSDC President Laura Seward. “SpaceX’s growing manifest and its push for new launch sites has also challenged Florida’s state and local governments to more aggressively support the space industry.”
The Bumper Award will be formally presented to Ms. Shotwell by the FSDC Board and Florida Senator Thad Altman, chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security.
“SpaceX’s successful commercial satellite launch last week positions the company to significantly improve Florida’s position in the global launch industry,” said Senator Altman. “This would not have been possible without the team of engineers and technicians assembled and led by Ms. Shotwell.”
A panel of FSDC members and its board of directors selected Ms. Shotwell after a monthlong nomination and review process that resulted in three other finalists, including (in alphabetical order) Space Florida President Frank DiBello, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University President John Johnson, and Will Trafton, chairman of the FAA’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee.
The Bumper was a modified German V-2 rocket with a U.S. WAC Corporal upper stage (built by Douglas Aircraft Co.). After a series of Bumper test launches at New Mexico’s White Sands Proving Grounds in 1948 and 1949, Bumper-8 became the first rocket launched at what would become the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Bumper was our nation’s first multi-stage liquid engine rocket and it led to the development of a series of other space launch vehicles.