January 30, 2008 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will designate Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) as a Historic Aerospace Site during a ceremony tomorrow celebrating the 50th anniversary of the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer 1. A historic marker will be unveiled during the ceremony, which will take place Thursday, January 31 at noon at the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, located at Cape Canaveral’s historic Complex 26, the actual site of the Explorer 1 launch.
Among those slated to participate in the ceremony are Air Force Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, Commander of the 45th Space Wing, and former 45th Space Wing commander Air Force Maj. Gen. (ret.) Robert Dickman, AIAA’s Executive Director. More than 50 veterans of the Explorer I program are also expected to attend.
Established by the U.S. Air Force in 1950 as Operating Sub-Division No. 1, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station served as the primary launch base for the developmental phases of America’s space and missile programs. America’s Space Age era began here with the launch of Explorer I in 1958, and soon saw the launch of America’s first astronaut, Alan Shepard, in 1961. Since then, CCAFS has supported more than three thousand launches on the Air Force’s Eastern Range, including manned missions, robotic voyages exploring our solar system, and national security operations.
AIAA established the Historic Aerospace Sites Program in January 2000 to promote the preservation of, and the dissemination of information about, significant accomplishments made in the aerospace profession. In addition to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, some of the other sites recognized by the AIAA History Technical Committee are the original Bendix Aviation Company in Teterboro, New Jersey; the Boeing Red Barn in Seattle; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina; the site of the first balloon launch in Annonay, France; and Tranquility Base on the moon. For more information about AIAA’s Historic Aerospace Sites Program, contact Emily Springer at 703.264.7533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AIAA advances the state of aerospace science, engineering, and technological leadership. Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., the Institute serves over 35,000 members in 65 regional sections and 79 countries. AIAA membership is drawn from all levels of industry, academia, private research organizations, and government. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org.