John V. Breakwell Student Paper Award


To encourage and promote research activity in space flight mechanics and astrodynamics by providing financial support to one or more students presenting papers at each of the annual AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meetings and Astrodynamics Conferences.


Any student presently enrolled at a U.S. or Canadian college or university (full- or part-time) who is submitting an extended abstract for a technical paper and who will be presenting that paper (if accepted) at the conference.

The student must be a member of the AAS (see or for details). Previous winners of this award are not eligible.

Application Components:

A complete application requires the following documents:

  1. Either a draft of the full conference paper or the extended abstract (submit as .pdf file). These documents must conform to the conference formatting standards. Note: submission of a full conference paper is highly encouraged as it will contain a more detailed explanation of your research.
  2. Quad-chart summarizing the results of the paper (template located here, submit as .ppt, .pptx, or .pdf file)
  3. A curriculum vitae (submit as .pdf file)
  4. Letter of recommendation from the student's faculty advisor, submitted separately with a maximum length of 2 pages. This letter must include, at a minimum, a description of the student's contributions to the current research and confirmation that the student is presently enrolled in a degree program (full- or part-time).

Application Submission Instructions:

Student applications: Please email the Breakwell Award Chair by the abstract submission deadline (contact information listed at the bottom of this page) with the following information:
  1. Subject line "AAS Breakwell Award Student Application - StudentLastName".
  2. Application items #1-3 attached (20 MB max total file size allowed, no zip files).
  3. In the text of your email, please list the full name and email address of your faculty advisor.
  4. In the text of your email, please list the university where you are currently enrolled.

The Breakwell Award Chair will respond via email to acknowledge receipt of your application by ~1 week after the deadline. Only complete applications will be given full consideration during the award selection process.

Faculty recommendation letters: please email the Breakwell Award Chair by the abstract submission deadline (contact information listed at the bottom of this page) with the subject line "AAS Breakwell Award Recommendation - StudentLastName" and application item #4 attached, where StudentLastName = the last name of the student application. In the text of your email, please list the full name of the student and their email address.

Note: you must also separately submit your extended abstract to the conference abstract submission site; decisions on whether a paper is accepted to the conference are made by the Technical Chairs, independent of this award application process.

Criteria for Evaluating Applications:

Technical merit, based on the paper/abstract and quad chart, and the advisor's letter of recommendation.


The award applications have the same due date as the extended abstracts for the associated conference. Please consult the conference webpage for details.


The cash award will offset expenses for travel, lodging, meals, and conference registration (maximum total amount of up to $1,000 per award). Multiple awards may be given at the discretion of the award and conference committee chairs.

Once the winners are selected, the Space Flight Mechanics Committee Treasurer will issue checks in the full amounts to be awarded. Each check will be issued to the awardee's academic institution, under the conditions that:

  1. The student is allowed to use the funds solely for the purpose of attending the conference and presenting the paper
  2. The full amount of the monetary award is made available to the student; i.e., the academic institution does not charge any fee or overhead cost for administering the funds.

A formal presentation of each award (including a certificate) will be made during the awards ceremony at the conference.

Obligations of Awardees:

Award winners will be required to make their own travel arrangements through their university and to provide receipts for all expenses, including travel, travel insurance, local transportation, lodging, meals, and conference registration. Any unused funds must be returned to the Committee treasurer.

AAS Breakwell Award Chair Contact Information:

Dr. Natasha Bosanac, email address: natasha.bosanac(AT)

If emailing with a question about the award, please start the subject line with "AAS Breakwell Award".

Previous Awards