Iridium Communications Inc. announced the launch of the Iridium NEXT Mission Team Scholarship programme. The endowment is a multi-year commitment by Iridium NEXT partner companies to support the development of innovative young aerospace engineers.
Thales Alenia Space, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences Corp., Lockheed Martin, Boeing and SEAKR, along with Iridium, have already committed almost half of the anticipated $250,000 endowment, and corporate participation is expected amongst the 30 Iridium NEXT mission team members. The scholarship programme will be administered by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation, and will begin distributing awards to undergraduate students for the 2012-13 academic year.
The Iridium NEXT Mission Team Programme will award scholarships annually to the best and brightest aerospace engineering students in the world, including those already engaged in the development of Iridium NEXT through Iridium or partner internships. Each year, scholarship recipients will form the Iridium NEXT Class of Scholars.
“As a leader in developing innovative solutions and encouraging an open and collaborative platform for product development, Iridium is proud to begin a new legacy of innovation by finding and rewarding the world’s most promising aerospace engineers,” said Scott Smith, executive vice president, Iridium NEXT.
“There is no better way to revolutionise the future of the aerospace industry than by encouraging and enabling the academic pursuit of the world’s budding engineers”
“The Iridium NEXT Mission Team is an unmatched group of aerospace leaders from around the world whose commitment to creating and launching the most cutting edge satellite constellation will not only improve the Iridium network, it will have a lasting impact on the global communications infrastructure as a whole. There is no better way to revolutionise the future of the aerospace industry than by encouraging and enabling the academic pursuit of the world’s budding engineers.”
The first Iridium NEXT Class of Scholars, as with the years ahead, will be selected by a designated committee of AIAA Foundation education committee members based on a set of academic and objective criteria. The AIAA Foundation fosters growth and ignites interest in science and technology through STEM K-12 education programmes, prepares students for the workforce with scholarships, and hosts student conferences, among other initiatives.