X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team Wins 2015 AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence Written 23 February 2015




X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team Wins 2015 AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence
Honored For Creating a Durable, Affordable, Autonomous, Reusable Space System

February 23, 2015 – Reston, Va. – The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team has won the 2015 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation’s 2015 AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence. Representatives of the U.S. Air Force and The Boeing Company will receive the award on May 6 at the AIAA Spotlight Awards Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, in Washington, D.C.

The award honors the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team for “successfully combining the best of aircraft and spacecraft capabilities — creating a system that is durable, affordable, and capable of spending long durations in orbit, executing autonomous landing, and being reused for future missions.”

“There can be no more deserving winner for this year’s Foundation Award for Excellence than the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle Team,” said Mike Griffin, chair of the AIAA Foundation. “Through three missions the vehicle has advanced our national security interests, enhanced our ability to operate in space, and served as a reliable test bed for technologies that could transform the future of spaceflight. Future programs will owe much to the X-37B team, and that is why the Foundation selected it for this year’s award.”

Conceived in 1999, the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle holds the world record for being the smallest robotic, unmanned spaceplane. Launched on its first mission on April 22, 2010, the vehicle spent 224 days in space returning on December 3, 2010, becoming the first American space vehicle to land autonomously — a feat first achieved by the Soviet Space Shuttle “Buran” in the 1980s. Two subsequent missions were largely classified in nature, but, according to the U.S. Air Force, tested “advanced space technologies.” Beyond its autonomous landing system, some of the technology tested on the X-37B includes an improved thermal protection system, enhanced avionics, and an advanced airframe.

“Boeing is proud to be part of the Air Force team pioneering reusable space vehicle technologies with the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle,” said Boeing Vice President Dan Hart, whose Government Space Systems (GSS) unit includes the Experimental Systems Group (ESG) that built the X-37B. “The X-37B program is demonstrating a reliable, reusable unmanned space test platform for the Air Force. Its objectives include space experimentation, risk reduction and concept-of-operations development for reusable space vehicle technologies that could become key enablers for future space missions.”

The AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence recognizes deserving organizations or individuals for extraordinary accomplishments in the promotion of aerospace. Past recipients include the Mars Science Laboratory, the National Reconnaissance Office, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Challenger Center for Space Science Education, Sen. John Glenn, the Joint Strike Fighter Program, and the X-51A WaveRider Team.

For more information on the Aerospace Spotlight Award recipients, or the AIAA Honors and Awards program, please contact Carol Stewart at 703.264.7623 or carols@aiaa.org.

Media Contact: Duane Hyland, duaneh@aiaa.org, or 703.264.7558

About the AIAA Foundation
The AIAA Foundation seeks to “make it exciting, make it empowering, and make it fun.” That simple, compelling philosophy drives the Foundation’s commitment to math, science, and technology education. The AIAA Foundation offers a wealth of resources to support educators from K–12 through university: scholarships, classroom grants, design competitions, and student conferences, improving scientific literacy and advancing the arts and sciences of aerospace. For more information on the AIAA Foundation and its programs for students, teachers, and professionals, please visit www.aiaafoundation.org.



About AIAA
AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and 95 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org.



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