OSC PR — Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, announced that David W. Thompson, its co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has been awarded the 2011 International Von Kármán Wings Award by the Aerospace Historical Society (AHS) and the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT). The 2011 award was presented to Mr. Thompson for his leadership of Orbital over the past three decades, which has pioneered new classes of rockets and satellites that have helped to make space applications more affordable and accessible to people and enterprises around the world.
Each year, the von Kármán Wings Award acknowledges an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the aerospace community over a sustained period of time as a pioneer, innovator and leader. For the past 26 years, the AHS has been dedicated to the preservation of the history and achievements of the aerospace industry and those individuals who helped shape its destiny.
“It is an honor for GALCIT and the Aerospace Historical Society to give the International Von Kármán Wings Award to Dave Thompson, whose pioneering work with Orbital continues to transform the space industry,” said Dr. G. Ravi Ravichandran, chair of the AHS, director of GALCIT, and the John E. Goode, Jr., Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at Caltech. Professor Ravichandran presented the International von Kármán Wings Award to Mr. Thompson at a gala banquet and awards ceremony on September 29 on the Caltech campus in Pasadena, CA.
Previous recipients of the Wings Award include Joanne Maguire of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company; Abdul Kalam, the former President of India; Yannick d’Escatha, Chairman and CEO of the French space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales; Alexis Livanos, Chief Technology Officer of Northrop Grumman; Charles Elachi, Director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL); Kent Kresa, former Chairman and CEO of Northrop Grumman and Chairman of
Caltech’s Board of Trustees; Burt Rutan, aerospace entrepreneur and founder, President and CEO of Scaled Composites; aerospace pioneer Paul MacCready, the “father of human-powered flight”; former JPL director Edward Stone; and NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Mr. Thompson co-founded Orbital in 1982 with Mr. Scott Webster and Mr. Bruce Ferguson. As a result of his work at Orbital, Mr. Thompson has received many honors including the National Medal of Technology by President George H. W. Bush, the Arthur C. Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and served as its President in 2009 and 2010. Furthermore he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society, the Royal Aeronautical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics.
Mr. Thompson received a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received the National Space Club’s Goddard Scholarship; a master’s degree in aeronautics from Caltech, where he held a Hertz Foundation Fellowship; and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, where he was a Rockwell International Fellow.
The research at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT) has evolved over the past three-quarters of a century to include aerospace and biosystems engineering. However, the tradition of integrating basic experiments, theory, and simulations over a broad range of spatial and temporal scales continues to characterize its approach.
GALCIT faculty members are highly visible in their fields and continue to garner numerous awards. GALCIT contains unparalleled experimental facilities in solids, fluids, biomechanics, propulsion, combustion, and materials, as well as unique large-scale computational capabilities. Its educational emphasis is on the fundamentals and advanced diagnostics, with a view toward the future, of biomechanics, biopropulsion, micro and nanomechanics, space science, and space technology. GALCIT takes an interdisciplinary view of mechanics-fluids, solids, and materials—and its graduate training reflects this focus.
For more information on the International von Kármán Wings Award and the AHS, visit http://www.galcit.caltech.edu/ahs/index.html
Caltech is recognized for its highly select student body of 900 undergraduates and 1,200 graduate students, and for its outstanding facility. Since 1923, Caltech faculty and alumni have garnered 32 Nobel Prizes and five Crafoord Prizes.
In addition to its prestigious on-campus research programs, Caltech operates the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the W. M. Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, the Palomar Observatory, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Caltech is a private university in Pasadena, California. For more information, visit http://www.caltech.edu.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com