Space Medal of Honor

Space MOH

The Congressional Space Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress in 1969 to recognize ‘any astronaut who in the performance of his duties has distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the Nation and mankind.’ The highest award given in NASA, it is awarded by the President of the United States in Congress’s name on recommendations from the NASA Administrator. The award is a separate decoration from the Medal of Honor, which is a military award for extreme bravery and gallantry in combat.

Although the Congressional Space Medal of Honor is a civilian award of the United States government, it is authorized as a military decoration for display on U.S. military uniforms due to the prestige of the decoration. In such cases, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor is worn as a ribbon following all United States Armed Forces decorations. The Congressional Space Medal of Honor may also be presented posthumously to those astronauts who die while performing a United States space mission, and as of 2008 all 17 astronauts killed on U.S. missions have been awarded the medal.

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