Press Release

Top AIAA Awards to be Presented at Space 2008 Conference

By SpaceRef Editor
September 9, 2008
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August 14, 2008 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce that it will present five awards for key contributions to space science and technology during the AIAA SPACE 2008 Conference & Exposition, to be held September 9-11 at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, Calif. The awards will be presented at the conference’s awards luncheon at noon on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.

Elon Musk, CEO and chief technology officer, SpaceX, Hawthorne, Calif., will receive the AIAA George Low Space Transportation Award, which is presented for a timely outstanding contribution to the field of space transportation. Musk will be recognized for his outstanding contribution to the development of commercial space transportation systems using innovative low-cost approaches.

Michael A’Hearn, professor of astronomy at the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., will receive the AIAA Space Science Award, which is presented to an individual for demonstrated leadership of innovative scientific investigations associated with space science missions. A’Hearn will be recognized for his leadership of the “Deep Impact” mission, which delivered the first man-made object to impact the nucleus of a comet and study its composition.

The TacSat-2 Spacecraft Team will receive the AIAA Space Systems Award, which is presented to recognize outstanding achievements in the architecture, analysis, design and implementation of space systems. The team will be recognized for the success of the first Operationally Responsive Space demonstration mission and for establishing novel space capabilities for the nation and ground-breaking component technologies through 14 successful payloads/experiments. The award will be accepted by Henry “Lad” Curtis, team leader, Microsat Systems, Inc., Littleton, Colo., Neal Peck, program manager, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and Daron Bromaghim, program manager, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Douglas Mudgway of Sonoma, Calif., will receive the AIAA History Manuscript Award for his work entitled “William H. Pickering, America’s Deep Space Pioneer.” The award is presented for the best historical manuscript dealing with the science, technology, and/or impact of aeronautics and astronautics on society.

Michel Griffin, administrator, NASA, Washington, D.C., and James French, JRF Engineering Services, Fort Collins, Colo., will receive the AIAA Summerfield Book Award for their book, “Space Vehicle Design, Second Edition.” The award is presented to the author(s) of the best book recently published by AIAA.

Each honoree will receive an engraved medal, a certificate of citation, and a rosette pin.

The AIAA SPACE 2008 Conference & Exposition is organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, co-chaired by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, sponsored by Orbital Sciences Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon, United Space Alliance, Stellar Solutions, The Aerospace Corporation, and ATK, and supported by the AIAA Technical Activities Committee (TAC) Space and Missiles Group, California Space Authority, Jacobs Engineering, American Astronautical Society, Space News, and Aerospace America.

Under the theme: “Future Space: National Priorities, Critical Decisions,” AIAA’s premier annual space conference will provide researchers, developers, and management from government, industry, and academia an opportunity to reflect upon the progress over the past decade, and debate how to best focus the great talent and resources of the space community on the future. Invited speakers and panelists will provide a unique perspective on key issues, setting the stage for continuing discussion throughout the program. More information on the AIAA SPACE 2008 Conference & Exposition is available at Media registration is free for credentialed members of the press.

For information on the AIAA Honors and Awards Program, please contact Carol Stewart at or at 703.264.7623.

AIAA advances the state of aerospace science, engineering, and technological leadership. Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., the Institute serves over 35,000 members in 65 regional sections and 79 countries. AIAA membership is drawn from all levels of industry, academia, private research organizations, and government. For more information, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.