Press Release

AVIATION WEEK Names ‘The Space Entrepreneur’ Person of the Year

By SpaceRef Editor
January 4, 2010
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AVIATION WEEK has named “The Space Entrepreneur,” a group of visionaries and engineers who are leading the way for commercial space tourism, as its 2009 Person of the Year in a cover story released today in Aviation Week & Space Technology. Privately financed spaceships, such as Scaled Composite’s SpaceShipTwo and Masten Space Systems’ lunar lander, are growing in number and budgets. After receiving more than $1 billion in private capital, NASA has recently awarded space entrepreneurs with multi-billion dollar contracts for transporting cargo to the International Space Station, and may rely on them to transport astronauts once the space shuttle fleet is retired.

“Space entrepreneurs had a big influence on aerospace in 2009, although it does not begin to compare with the impact they are likely to have in years to come,” says the Aviation Week & Space Technology article by Deputy Managing Editor, Space, Frank Morring, Jr. and Senior Editor Guy Norris.

“While several companies are developing commercial space vehicles, the space community has several obstacles to overcome,” said Anthony Velocci, Jr., Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Week & Space Technology. “Members of Congress and others have voiced concerns about safety standards and whether the government should rely on private companies for space exploration. How the industry responds to these questions will be an important factor in how quickly space tourism can grow.”

“We’re at the beginning of a new era in access to space… an era of commercial human spaceflight,” said Tom Henricks, president, AVIATION WEEK, and a former NASA astronaut. “It’s exciting that entrepreneurs are pursuing opportunities in space. Only about five hundred people have been to space in the past half century. AVIATION WEEK is proud to recognize these innovative individuals for their enormous contributions to making space accessible to many more in the near future.”

The Person of the Year distinction, the fifth in AVIATION WEEK’s 93-year history, recognizes the impact individuals have on the broader aviation, aerospace and defense community. AVIATION WEEK staff editors selected this intrepid group from an international field of candidates. Prior recipients include U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (2008); the father of China’s space program, Tsien Hsue-shen (2007); Alan R. Mulally, currently of Ford Motor Co. and previously of Boeing Co. (2006); and Finmeccanica’s Pier Francesco Guarguaglini (2005).

Complete coverage of the Person of the Year is available at


AVIATION WEEK, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, is the largest multimedia information and services provider to the global aviation, aerospace and defense industries, and includes the publications Aviation Week & Space Technology, Defense Technology International, Business & Commercial Aviation, Overhaul & Maintenance, ShowNews, Aviation Daily, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, and the World Aerospace Database. The group’s website,, offers the industry’s most reliable news, information, search and online community tools. Premium content services include the Aviation Week Intelligence Network and MRO Prospector. The group also produces prominent conferences, exhibitions and management forums around the world.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, Capital IQ, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and AVIATION WEEK. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at

SpaceRef staff editor.