Lt. General Thomas Patten Stafford, USAF (Ret.) will receive the prestigious 2011 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) “for his pioneering achievements that have led the way to the moon, to greater international cooperation in space, and to a safer America.”
NAA established this award in 1948 to honor the memory of Orville and Wilbur Wright. The trophy is awarded annually to a living American for significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.
NAA Chairman Walter Boyne lauded the choice. “General Stafford’s manifold contributions to aviation and space are properly recognized with this award. His heroic leadership in national and international space triumphs will be an inspiration for future generations.”
Stafford has been a fighter pilot, flight instructor, test pilot, astronaut, aerospace record setter, author and an advisor to federal agencies and U.S. presidents. He established a successful pattern that leads directly from the Gemini missions to the International Space Station. His Apollo X mission was a pathfinder that laid the foundation for the successful lunar landings. Today’s international cooperation and partnership in space was forged upon the historic handshake he offered his (then) Soviet counterpart during the Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975.
Stafford will receive the award at the Wright Memorial Dinner on Friday, Dec. 16, at the Washington Hilton Hotel. For more information: NAA.aero