In the spirit of the aviation and aeronautics prizes of the early 20th Century and the X-Prizes of the 21st Century, the AOE Department awards three prizes to the most innovate capstone design teams. There is considerable evidence that early awards such as the Robert J. Collier Trophy, which was given annually for the “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, or safety of air or space vehicles”, have stimulated designers and pilots to compete for the prize money and to “push the envelope” of technology for faster, farther, higher, better, and more efficient vehicles. It is our goal to recognize the innovation of our students, and to stimulate friendly competition.
The prizes are funded by generous donations from alumni, advisory board members, and the Academy of AOE Excellence, and are named after influential pioneers of our field who served as mentors and teachers to the donors.
Adolf Busemann Prize in Aeronautics. Dr. Busemann was the father of swept-back wings on transonic aircraft.
Hyman Rickover Prize in Hydronautics. Known as the "Father of the Nuclear Navy", Admiral Rickover's profound effects on the Navy and its most powerful warships were of such scope that he may well go down in history as one of the Navy's most important officers.
Wernher von Braun Prize in Astronautics. Dr. von Braun, was the leading figure in the development of rocket technology in Germany and the father of rocket technology and space science in the United States.