The Planetary Society will be acknowledged at Aviation Week & Space Technology's 45th Annual Aerospace Laurels presentation on Tuesday, April 16, 2002. The Society nabbed double honors for both Cosmos 1, its solar sail project, and for the Society's unflagging support of a mission to explore Pluto.
The Planetary Society's role as a proponent of a Pluto mission garnered one Laurel because Congress responded to the public's interest in Pluto and added the Pluto mission into the FY 2002 budget.
However, the Society is presenting testimony to Congress about Pluto this week because once again the Administration has proposed cancellation of the mission development in the FY 2003 budget.
The other Laurel was awarded to "The Planetary Society for making the first real moves toward private planetary exploration by organizing the suborbital test in July of a Solar Sail on a Russian rocket." Kudos also went to Cosmos Studios and the A&E television network for providing the sponsorship for the project.
"It's ironic that the same week I am in Washington for Aviation Week and Space Technology's Laurel Awards, including one to The Planetary Society for our efforts supporting a mission to Pluto," said Louis Friedman, the Society's Executive Director, "that I should also be here to ask Congress to again restore funding for a mission to Pluto. We appreciate Aviation Week's tributes and will continue to push the envelope for exploration."
The Aerospace Laurel Selections are designed to honor individuals and teams who made significant contributions to the global field of aerospace during 2001.