Headlines > News > SpaceShipOne team received an award for innovation

SpaceShipOne team received an award for innovation

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Tue Dec 7, 2004 11:33 am
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chabot imageBy Jim Skeen, dailynews.com: PALMDALE — The late state senator William J. “Pete” Knight and SpaceShipOne’s builders were among the recipients of awards handed out by the state’s spaceport authority.
In their annual SpotBeam Award ceremony, the California Space Authority recognized Knight for his efforts in protecting military bases and promoting the space industry while the SpaceShipOne team received an award for innovation. The ceremony was held in Sacramento on Dec. 2.

“The SpotBeam Award recipients are a collection of the best our state has to offer,” said Andrea Seastrand, executive director of the authority. “They are taking space technologies down new avenues of opportunity and making the world recognize that California maintains its prominence in the global space enterprise community.”

Knight was recognized for a body of work stretching back from his days as a record-setting test pilot of the X-15 rocketplane to his service in the state Legislature. As a test pilot, Knight was one of eight men to earn astronaut wings piloting the X-15 into space and he also set a speed record of 4,520 mph in one of the craft.

Knight was an ardent supporter of the state’s military bases, particularly Edwards Air Force Base. Knight also chaired the space flight industries subcommittee of the Senate Defense Conversion, Retention and Space Flight Industries Select Committee.

“CSA celebrates the accomplishments of a true American hero, whose tireless efforts supporting space, aerospace and base retention will be long remembered,” the authority said in announcing the award.

Mojave Aerospace Ventures, a joint project of Mojave’s Burt Rutan and billionaire Paul G. Allen, was recognized for the development of SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded, privately developed, manned spacecraft. SpaceShipOne made three suborbital flights this year, including two within a two-week period, earning the team the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

The award is the latest in a string of accolades for the team, which includes being named as Time magazine’s invention of the year.

“SpaceShipOne represents the beginning of a new era of manned spaceflight, the extension of which will bring affordable, regular, and safe manned commercial spaceflight,” the CSA said.

The other SpotBeam recipients this year were the CubeSat Project, an effort by academia, including Stanford University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and private industry to advance satellite technology; the British American Business Council for fostering international partnerships; the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base for fostering military and civilian space technology; the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, for its work on interplanetary probes; DIRECTV for successful commercial space applications; and a trio of California congressional leaders — Rep. Jerry Lewis, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and Rep. Jane Harman — for supporting California’s space efforts at the federal level.

The California Space Authority is a nonprofit corporation created to create, grow and retain the state’s space efforts.

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