The Space Foundation presented NASA’s Dawn mission with the 2019 John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration at the opening ceremony of the foundation’s 35th Space Symposium on April 8, 2019.
Dawn is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Project Manager Marc Rayman of JPL and Dave Gallagher, associate director for strategic integration at JPL, accepted the award in front of about a thousand symposium attendees in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Dawn, the first spacecraft to orbit an object in the main asteroid belt and the only spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial destinations — planet-like worlds Vesta and Ceres — was honored for its work revealing important information about the formation of the solar system. Dawn, which launched in 2007, completed 3,000 orbits around its targets and holds the record for the greatest velocity change (25,700 mph, or 41,400 kph) achieved by a spacecraft with its own propulsion system.
Dawn ended its successful mission Oct. 31, 2018. Science from Dawn’s data will continue for years to come.
“We are very grateful to the Space Foundation for the Swigert Award recognizing the Dawn team for piloting this advanced spaceship,” Rayman said. “For two centuries, dwarf planet Ceres and Vesta were seen as little more than faint dots of light amid the stars, until this bold mission provided us with richly detailed, intimate portraits of these two complex, fascinating alien worlds.”
Dawn’s mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate’s Discovery Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. JPL is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Northrop Grumman in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team.
For a complete list of mission participants, visit:
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
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NASA Headquarters, Washington
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