Space Foundation Press Releases

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Wins 2008 Jack Swigert Award for Space Exploration

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 12, 2008) — The Space Foundation will honor the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with the 2008 John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration.  This award honors the memory and enduring legacy of Apollo 13 astronaut and Colorado Congressman-elect Jack Swigert.  The first international recipient of the Swigert award, JAXA will be recognized during the opening ceremony of the 24th National Space Symposium on April 7. The symposium, the premier annual gathering of the global space community, will take place April 7-10 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. 

“JAXA’s remarkable accomplishments in pursuit of scientific discovery and exploration truly exemplify the spirit of Jack Swigert,” said Space Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Pulham. “JAXA continues to push the boundaries of human knowledge, opening doors of understanding and uncovering the mysteries of the universe. JAXA has quietly achieved extraordinary things, and is truly deserving of this award.”  

The 2008 Jack Swigert Award for Space Exploration is presented to JAXA for the design, development, launch, and operation of its pioneering fleet of space exploration spacecraft — Suzaku, Akari, Hinode, Hayabusa, and Kaguya. Collectively, these spacecraft have provided the world with groundbreaking scientific findings and pushed the boundaries of exploration.  Their accomplishments include breakthrough discoveries about high-energy processes in the universe such as black holes and galaxy clusters; the origins of galaxies and planet systems; the solar corona and the sun’s impact on the Earth; greater insight into the makeup of asteroids; and providing the first high-definition television images of the moon and the Earth as seen from the moon.

All of these spacecraft fill a unique niche in discovery and exploration of the universe. Suzaku, (also known as ASTRO-EII), launched July 10, 2005, has successfully used super-precise instruments to observe high-energy processes in the universe.  Akari, (also known as ASTRO-F), launched February 22, 2006, is an infrared astronomy satellite seeking an understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies.  Hinode, (also known as SOLAR-B), launched September 23, 2006, is studying the impact of the sun on the Earth by unraveling the mysteries and mechanisms of the solar corona.  Hayabusa, which set the record for longest flight by an ion engine and performed both touchdowns and a landing on the asteroid Itokawa, was launched in May 2003.  Kaguya, (also known as SELENE), Japan’s first large lunar explorer, was launched September 14, 2007. With Kaguya, JAXA is leading the world in exploring the potential use of the moon for human endeavors.

A Colorado native, Swigert served with Capt. James Lovell, USN (Retired), and Fred Haise on the legendary Apollo 13 lunar mission. People around the world watched as NASA overcame tremendous odds to return the crew safely to Earth. Before joining the Apollo program, Swigert was a combat pilot for the U.S. Air Force in Japan and Korea and an engineering test pilot for North American Aviation, Inc. and Pratt and Whitney. In 1982, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but died of cancer before taking the oath of office.

The Space Foundation, founded in 1983 in part to honor Swigert’s memory, created the John L. “Jack” Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration in 2004 in tribute to his lasting legacy of space exploration. Previous recipients include the NASA Mars Exploration Team, President George W. Bush, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the astronomical observatories, scientists, researchers, and students of the California Institute of Technology.

The National Space Symposium brings together all sectors of space — civil, commercial, and national security – to highlight the accomplishments and address the opportunities and issues facing the space industry today. More than 7,500 participants from across the United States and many foreign countries are expected to attend the 24th National Space Symposium.  These individuals, who represent both the history and future of this $220 billion industry, include senior executive leadership from NASA, NOAA, and other civil space and government agencies; the commercial space and satellite broadcasting industry; the Department of Defense and military space commands; space entrepreneurs; universities and academia; and senior representatives from the global space industry.

Highlights of the 24th National Space Symposium include an extensive exhibit center representing more than 140 organizations and companies co-sponsored by Lockheed Martin; a spectacular Opening Ceremony, co-sponsored by United Space Alliance; Opening Night Fireworks and Dessert Reception, co-sponsored by Raytheon; the Corporate Partnership Dinner, co-sponsored by Northrop Grumman; the presentation of the Space Foundation’s highest honor, the General James E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, at a luncheon co-sponsored by Boeing; and the Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner, co-sponsored by Space Florida.

Additional co-sponsors of the symposium are Analytical Graphics, Inc., ATK, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Cisco Systems, CSP Associates, Harris Corporation, Honeywell, Infinite Links, Intelsat General, ITT, Perot Systems Government Services, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, and Stellar Solutions. Media partners for the 24th National Space Symposium are Aviation Week, Space News, and Via Satellite. Frontier Airlines is the official airline of the conference.

Online registration and more information, including an updated program agenda, confirmed speaker list, and exhibitor list are available at

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983 and celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Space Foundation is an international nonprofit organization advancing space-related endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity.  A leader in space awareness activities, major industry events, and educational enterprises that bring space into the classroom, the Space Foundation is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.  It conducts research and analysis and government affairs activities from its Washington, D.C. office, and has field representatives in Houston and Cape Canaveral, Fla.  Along with partnering organizations, the Space Foundation also conducts Strategic Space and Defense 2008, scheduled 6-8 October in Omaha, Neb.  For more information, visit