Illustration of Galileo at Jupiter

NASA's blockbuster Galileo mission will receive what some might call the space world's equivalent of an Academy Award® on Fri., March 31 -- the prestigious Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award for outstanding contributions to planetary exploration.

The Galileo spacecraft has played a starring role in teaching scientists and the public about Jupiter, its moons and its magnetic environment. The spacecraft was launched in 1989 and arrived at Jupiter in 1995 to begin what was originally designed as a two-year mission. That mission was followed by a two-year sequel, which ended on January 31 of this year, and the long-lived spacecraft has begun yet another sequel, called the Galileo Millennium Mission.

The award from the National Space Club will be presented at the annual Goddard Memorial Dinner on Friday in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Hilton Hotel. The Galileo team is being honored, with representation by Dr. Guenter Riegler, director of the Research Program Management Division at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., and Galileo Project Manager Jim Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

"I'm really thrilled that the members of the Galileo team are being recognized by their peers," Erickson said.

Recipients of the Jackson Award are selected annually by the National Space Club for their contributions to the astronautics, aircraft and missile industries. The award is a memorial to the late Nelson P. "Pete" Jackson, one of the founders and past presidents of the organization.

Additional information on the Galileo mission is available at .

JPL manages the Galileo mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

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