Space Foundation to Give Awards to SpaceX, Télécoms Sans Frontières

Artist conception of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in orbit


The Space Foundation has chosen two companies to receive 2011 Space Achievement Awards, in recognition of their extraordinary accomplishments in space.

SpaceX is being lauded for becoming the first commercial company to re-enter a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit, and Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) is being recognized for its unique use of space to aid communications and save lives during natural disasters and emergencies.

The awards will be presented to both organizations during the Opening Ceremony of the 27th National Space Symposium on April 11 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

On Dec. 8, 2010, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., into low-Earth orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket. It orbited the Earth at speeds greater than 17,000 miles per hour, reentered the Earth’s atmosphere and landed in the Pacific Ocean that afternoon. The only other entities to successfully recover spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit have been nations or government agencies: China, the European Space Agency, India, Japan, Russia and the U.S.

“SpaceX’s successful launch and re-entry signals a new era in space transportation,” said Space Foundation Chief Executive Office Elliot Pulham. “The Space Foundation has long predicted that commercial space flight would take off; it is certainly exciting to watch SpaceX as it boldly redefines the space marketplace.”

Since its creation in 1998, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has developed a reputation for being among the first to arrive on the scene after a disaster, and has intervened in more than 60 countries, serving hundreds of thousands of victims and 600 organizations (UN agencies, NGOs and local authorities). TSF’s primary tools are light, highly portable satellite terminals (BGAN and VSAT) that are deployable within minutes, providing worldwide coverage.

“Télécoms Sans Frontières’ use of space is an extraordinary example of the concrete, positive impact space has on our lives on Earth,” said Pulham. “There’s nothing theoretical here — this organization saves lives and makes the world a better place because of space technology.”