Robert R. Lovell
National Medal of Technology and Innovation
For their invention, development, and production of the Pegasus rocket, the world's first privately developed space launch vehicle, that has opened the door to greater commercial, scientific and defense uses.
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Awarded WithAntonio L. Elias
David W. Thompson
David S. Hollingsworth
Country of BirthUSA
Key ContributionsFirst Private Space Launch Vehicle
Awarded byGeorge H. W. Bush
EducationUniversity of Michigan
Ferris State University
Areas of ImpactTransportation
AffiliationsThe Pegasus Team: Orbital Sciences Corporation
For more than three decades, Orbital Sciences Corporation and its Pegasus rocket – the world’s first privately developed space launch vehicle – have been providing an economical option for placing the satellites that power our communications.
Leading that success, Robert R. Lovell, an engineer who spent his early career building nuclear rockets, served as the company’s executive vice president and general manager for its space systems group. The first launch of Pegasus occurred in 1990 at Dryden Flight Research Center in California.
Soon after, Lovell made his mark setting lofty goals that would propel the program’s success. “A launch a month,” he told his employees. In a 15-month period between 1997 and 1998, Orbital Sciences Corp. delivered 30 satellites to orbit.
"The high reliability and excellent performance achieved by these satellites during such an intense period of deliveries and launches are a strong testament to exceptional program execution by our satellite team," Lovell said.