[Satnews] Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA) proudly recognizes the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory Dawn Project Team for winning two highly respected awards in the aerospace industry. The National Aeronautic Association recently named the Dawn Project Team as the recipient of the 2015 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “advancing the nation’s technological capabilities in pioneering new frontiers in space travel.” The trophy is awarded each year “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America” in the prior year.
Designed and built by Orbital ATK, the Dawn spacecraft became the first deep-space probe to reach a dwarf planet when it entered orbit around Ceres in March 2015. Ceres was the largest unexplored world between the Sun and Pluto until Dawn’s arrival last year. Dawn is also the first probe to orbit two extraterrestrial solar system destinations (Vesta and Ceres), making it a truly interplanetary spacecraft. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in September 2007, Dawn has now returned many stunning images of the two minor planets, allowing mission scientists to uncover some of the mysteries of planetary formation.
“We are honored to have supported NASA/JPL on this remarkable mission, extending nearly nine years in duration,” said Frank Culbertson, president of Orbital ATK’s Space System Group. “Orbital ATK’s flight-proven technology and extensive space systems experience played a key role in building the Dawn spacecraft and integrating the ion propulsion system provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This revolutionary technology made Dawn’s historic multi-billion mile journey possible and this coveted award from our industry peers validates the incredible efforts of the JPL/Orbital ATK team.”
The Dawn Project Team was also the recipient of the 2016 National Space Club’s Nelson P. Jackson Award, presented annually for a “significant contribution to the missile, aircraft or space field.” These awards to the Dawn Project Team highlight the benefits of a strong government/industry partnership, dedicated to delivering mission success.
Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group built the Dawn spacecraft at the company’s facilities in Dulles, Virginia. The spacecraft incorporated features of Orbital ATK’s Earth science and commercial communication spacecraft technology. Dawn will continue observing Ceres and collecting data until the mission ends later this year.
For a complete list of mission participants, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission