Space Foundation Selects NASA JPL Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Flight Team To Receive 2021 John L. ’Jack’ Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration

Ingenuity rover flying over Mars surface. Courtesy of NASA.

Space Foundation, a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983 for the global space ecosystem, is proud to announce the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Mars Ingenuity Flight Team as the recipient of the 2021 John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration. The NASA Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has proven itself a milestone in aviation and aeronautics history by performing the first flight of a powered and controlled aircraft on another planet, allowing observation of Mars from an aerial perspective, and enabling the collection of data about conducting flight in a challenging atmosphere.

In announcing this year’s recipient, Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor shared, “As a multiple-time recipient of the John L. ‘Jack’ Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration, the NASA JPL team continues to raise the bar when it comes to extraordinary accomplishments in the realm of space exploration and discovery. The work of this most unique team has changed history not just on this planet, but it has also truly accomplished a feat beyond compare.”

The award will be presented Aug. 23, 2021, during the 36th Space Symposium’s opening ceremony, to be held at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. The ceremony will also be simulcast online as part of Space Symposium’s all-new virtual experience.

Space Foundation is also pleased to announce these newest additions to its lineup of distinguished speakers at the 36th Space Symposium:

The Space Symposium website contains the latest speaker and agenda updates. This year will mark the debut of the event’s hybrid — in-person and virtual — format, providing greater opportunities for members of the global space community to engage, learn, share knowledge and network. Tickets are available at

About Ingenuity

Ingenuity, created by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is the first aircraft sent to another planet. Ingenuity’s mission is to be an experimental flight test on Mars, with the hope of bringing the aerial dimension to future explorations. Launched July 30, 2020, in the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover, the helicopter landed on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021.

After centuries of learning how to fly planes and helicopters on Earth, engineers developed Ingenuity in just six years. Carrying a piece of the original Wright Flyer aboard, the first successful demonstration flight came on April 19, 2021, and resulted in the first powered, controlled flight on any planet outside of Earth. After three successful flights, the helicopter completed its technology demonstration and transitioned to an operations demonstration phase.

About the John L. ‘Jack’ Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration

John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr., Award for Space Exploration was created in memory of NASA astronaut Jack Swigert, a Colorado native who served on the Apollo 13 lunar mission. In 1982, Swigert was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives but died of cancer before taking the oath of office. Space Foundation created the Swigert award in 2004 in tribute to his legacy of space exploration.

About Space Symposium

Space Symposium is in its 36th year of gathering a global audience of commercial and government professionals, entrepreneurs, educators and students at the premier conference for space exploration and space-inspired industries held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Space Foundation is committed to adapting a hybrid live and online event scheduled for August 2021 to enable its 15,000 loyal attendees to seamlessly engage and conduct business with the global space ecosystem.

About Space Foundation

Space Foundation is a nonprofit advocate organization founded in 1983, offering a gateway to education, information and collaboration for space exploration and space-inspired industries that define the global space ecosystem. Driven by a partnership model, Space Foundation operates three divisions that unite the entire spectrum of stakeholders — business, government, education and local communities — through corporate membership, sponsorship, fundraising and grants: Center for Innovation and Education is a lifelong learning platform. Symposium 365 is the premier source for media and events, including the world-renowned Space Symposium. Global Alliance facilitates collaboration around the world. Visit Space Foundation at


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