NSS Recognizes NASA’s Webb Telescope Team


Magnificent Science Returns Earn the James Webb Space Telescope Team the NSS Wernher von Braun Memorial Award

Image: Karlton Johnson, Chair of the NSS Board of Governors, presents the von Braun Award to Dr. Eric Smith, Program Scientist for the Webb Telescope.

The National Space Society is proud to announce that the Wernher von Braun Memorial Award was bestowed upon NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team on May 27, 2023, at its 41st International Space Development Conference® (ISDC®). The von Braun Award is granted every other year to recognize excellence in management and leadership of a space-related project in which the project is significant, successful, and is the result of a strong management team.

“NSS is thrilled to have awarded this prestigious recognition to the Webb Space Telescope team,” said Anita Gale, NSS CEO. “The JWST has revolutionized how we see the universe and our own solar system.”

Dr. Eric Smith, the Associate Director for Research in the Science Mission Directorate’s Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters and Program Scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, accepted the award for the Webb team and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Smith is the NASA scientist responsible for the Webb science content and also monitors and manages the science program for both the Webb Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope, ensuring their missions remain viable and true to NASA strategic objectives.

“The deployment and commissioning of the JWST has been one of the most significant scientific developments of the 21st century,” said Isaac Arthur, president of NSS. “We felt there was no better recipient for the von Braun award.”


The Webb operates at infrared frequencies, which is very challenging to accomplish from the Earth’s surface, and observing in infrared allows the telescope to see further and more clearly than any previous instrument of its kind. New discoveries from existing and previously undiscovered targets began to accumulate almost immediately after its commissioning.

The ever-growing list of Webb discoveries includes direct imaging of exoplanets and the identification of key gases in their atmospheres; tracking clouds on Saturn’s moon Titan; identifying new details in a cluster of galaxies; imaging the incredibly faint rings around Uranus; capturing the galactic merger of Arp 220; discovering sand-bearing clouds on a remote exoplanet; measuring the temperature of a rocky exoplanet; and observing galaxies seen in their earliest years, when the universe was just 350 million years old – about two percent of its current age.


Picture of admin


Contributors to the NSS Blog are unpaid volunteers. Unless specifically labeled an NSS position or press release, all blog posts represent the views of the author and not of NSS, even if written by an NSS officer.

Leave a Comment

future 1

Don't Miss a Beat!

Be the first to know when new articles are posted!

Follow Us On Social Media


Give The Gift Of Space: Membership For Friends and Family

Book Review


ISDC 2025:
Together Beyond!

In Orlando at the Rosen Centre Hotel.
June 19 - 22, 2025


Image of Kalpana One space settlement courtesy Bryan Versteeg, spacehabs.com $32,000 in Cash Awards Given for Best Space-Related Business Plans — Deadline March 1, 2024

Category: Nonfiction Reviewed by: John J. Vester Title: Nuclear Rockets: To the Moon and Mars Author: Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried Format: Paperback/Kindle Pages: 270 Publisher:

Partially Successful Flight Reached Space and Demonstrated New “Hot Staging” System The National Space Society congratulates SpaceX on the second test of its Starship/Super Heavy

Ad Astra, the NSS quarterly print, digital, and audio magazine, has won a 2023 MARCOM Gold Award. The awards are given yearly for “Excellence in

By Jennifer Muntz, NSS Member Coordinator On October 10th, an inspiring breakfast event took flight at the Center for Space Education at the Kennedy Space

By Grant Henriksen NSS Policy Committee Benefit sharing is a concept that refers to the distribution of benefits derived from the exploration and use of

People residing and working in space, space settlements, or on long-duration space flights will need to produce infrastructures and food to maintain healthy lifestyles. The

Image: Artist’s concept of the Blue Moon lander. Credit: Blue Origin. Second Human Landing System Contract Encourages Competition and Innovation The National Space Society congratulates