NASA Space Flight Medal
The NASA Space Flight Medal is a decoration of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

. According to its statutes, it is awarded "for significant achievement or service during individual participation as a civilian or military astronaut, pilot, mission specialist, payload specialist, or other space flight participant in a space flight mission." In practice, the medal is bestowed upon any astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 (US or foreign) who flies aboard a United States space mission
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

, and typically every subsequent flight is honored with an additional award.

Multiple awards of the decoration are annotated either by award stars or oak leaf cluster
Oak leaf cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...

s (depending on the civilian or military status of the recipient and, if military, the branch of service). The NASA Space Flight Medal is also authorized for wear on active uniforms of the United States military and is worn after all military decorations.

For those who perform an act of gallantry or heroic action while engaged in a U.S. space mission, NASA also presents an award known as the Congressional Space Medal of Honor
Congressional Space Medal of Honor
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...

. This is separate award from the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

which is a U.S. military decoration for extreme bravery.

External links

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