Planetary Society Nabs Aviation Week Laurels

For Immediate Release
April 15, 2002

Mat Kaplan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

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.

About The Planetary Society

With a global community of more than 2 million space enthusiasts, The Planetary Society is the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organization. Founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman and today led by CEO Bill Nye, we empower the public to take a meaningful role in advancing space exploration through advocacy, education outreach, scientific innovation, and global collaboration. Together with our members and supporters, we’re on a mission to explore worlds, find life off Earth, and protect our planet from dangerous asteroids. To learn more, visit