PopSci singled out Dragon for the Grand Award in the Aviation & Space category. The magazine calls the vehicle “the future of American spaceflight,” a ship that will eventually fly cargo and crews to the International Space Station, the moon and Mars.
The magazine sees Astrobotic as leading the race to win the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize. Led by Carnegie Mellon Professor William “Red” Whittaker, the team plans to launch a 173-pound rover to take 3-D images of the moon.
Three NASA space vehicles are on the list:
- MESSENGER — which is orbiting Mercury
- Dawn — currently exploring the asteroid Vesta
- Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity — the car-sized rover set for launch later this month.
Also getting a nod was the Pipistrel Taurus G4, a four-seat electric plane that in October won the $1.35 million CAFE Green Flight Challenge, a NASA Centennial Challenge competition funded by Google for the demonstration of fuel-efficient aircraft.
Other innovative technologies in the Aviation & Space category include:
- Astro Space Center RadioAstron spacecraft (Russia)
- Bombardier Global 8,000 long-haul private jet
- U.S. Air Force/Mav6 Blue Devil Airship
- Northrop Grumman X-47 UAV.
See the entire list of 100 innovations here.