Commercial spaceflight is featured in this week’s cover story of Aviation Week and Space Technology, which has selected “The Space Entrepreneur” as its 2009 Person of the Year.
“Space entrepreneurs had a big influence on aerospace in 2009,” write Aviation Week editors Frank Morring and Guy Norris, “although it does not begin to compare with the impact they are likely to have in years to come.”
“After receiving more than $1 billion in private capital, NASA has recently awarded space entrepreneurs with multi-billion dollar contracts for transporting cargo to the International Space Station, and may rely on them to transport astronauts once the space shuttle fleet is retired,” Aviation Week noted in a press release accompanying the cover story.
“We’re at the beginning of a new era in access to space… an era of commercial human spaceflight,” added former astronaut Tom Henricks, president of Aviation Week, in the press release. “It’s exciting that entrepreneurs are pursuing opportunities in space. Only about five hundred people have been to space in the past half century. AVIATION WEEK is proud to recognize these innovative individuals for their enormous contributions to making space accessible to many more in the near future.”
The Aviation Week cover image features Masten Space Systems ’ CEO, Dave Masten, whose company recently won $1.15 million in the NASA Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE Challenge for successful flights of its vertical-takeoff vertical-landing vehicles. The Aviation Week article also mentions the suborbital science workshops that have been organized by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation to discuss the science, research, and education applications of commercial spaceflight.
Image credit: Aviation Week and Space Technology