Space Foundation Press Releases

Cassini Mission Team Earns 2018 John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 21, 2018) - Given annually to recognize the most significant accomplishment in advancing the exploration of space during the previous year, the Space Foundation's John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration will be presented in 2018 to the Cassini Mission team.

Cassini's active mission of more than 20 years, and 4.9 billion miles traveled, provided a detailed understanding of the Saturn system, including its rings and moons. According to NASA: Cassini has revealed never-before-seen events that are changing our understanding of how planetary systems form.

Data and images from the mission will be analyzed for years to come and are expected to result in new discoveries and understanding of our solar system.

The 2018 Swigert Award will be presented April 16 during the opening ceremony of the Space Foundation's 34th Space Symposium at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA. The ceremony is co-sponsored by Northrop Grumman. See complete Symposium information at

About the Cassini Mission
A joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency, Cassini launched on Oct. 15, 1997, from Cape Canaveral. The mission was named for 17th Century astronomer Giovanni Cassini.

After flying by Venus and Jupiter, Cassini reached its destination in June 2004. In 2005, the mission delivered the Huygens probe to Saturn's moon Titan. After its primary mission, the tour was extended twice.

The spectacular finale of the mission occurred on Sept. 5, 2017, and gained world-wide attention as the spacecraft, having expended most of its rocket propellant, was directed into the planet for destruction.

The Cassini mission provided a better understanding of Saturn, its rings and many moons and altered concepts regarding how planets form around stars.

About the Award
The John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration honors astronaut Jack Swigert, a Colorado native who served with retired U.S. Navy Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., and Fred Haise on the legendary Apollo 13 lunar mission, which was aborted after the perilous rupture of an oxygen tank en route to the Moon.

In 1982, Swigert 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 Swigert Award in 2004 in tribute to his lasting legacy of space exploration.

The Swigert Award was last presented in 2016. Recent recipients have included:
2016 Pluto New Horizons Exploration Team
2015 Rosetta Comet Exploration Team
2013 NASA Mars Science Laboratory Mission Team
2012 NASA Kepler Mission
2010 The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Mission Team
2009 NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Team

34th Space Symposium Sponsorship
a.i. solutions, Aeroject Rocketdyne, Aerospace Industries Association, AGIAviation Week NetworkBAE SystemsBall AerospaceBoeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, BWX Technologies, Inc., Colorado Space Coalition, Cosmic AES, Defense One, Deloitte, El Pomar Foundation, Engility, European Union, Eutelsat America CorpFedEx, Harris, Inmarsat, LeidosLockheed Martin, Maui Economic Development Board, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK, Orbital Systems, PeratonRaytheon, Riverside Research, ROOM, National Security Services, SatNews, Secure World Foundation, SES Government SolutionsSpaceNews, SpaceX, Stellar Solutions, Stratasys, Tesat Spacecom, ULA, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Via Satellite, Viasat.

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) and the world's premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community. It is a nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs, and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium. Space Foundation headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, and has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a Washington, D.C., office and field representatives in Houston and the Florida Space Coast. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit both of our websites – and – and follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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Space Foundation Contact:
Carol Hively, Director - Public Relations & Team Communications
[email protected]