Engineer To Be Honored For Efforts To Keep NASA On Course
The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA)
Foundation's National Board of Advisors recently selected former
NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin to receive its highest honor,
the National Space Trophy. The award has been presented annually
for the past 23 years to an individual who has excelled in
furthering national goals in the field of space.
Rodolfo Gonzalez, President of the RNASA Foundation in Houston,
says Griffin was selected for the National Space Trophy for a
variety of reasons, including developing the plan for completion of
the International Space Station following the loss of Space Shuttle
Columbia. Griffin -- an engineer at heart -- also personally
directed the shuttle return-to-flight activities.
Under Griffin's watch, NASA also initiated the first procurement
of commercial cargo and crew service in the agency's history;
successfully established the architecture for a sustainable,
achievable, and technically viable human exploration program; and
awarded the initial spacecraft and launch vehicle contracts that
will ensure the program meets its demanding schedule.
Griffin is also being recognized for the impressive series of
senior government and industry executive positions he held prior to
being named NASA administrator. These positions include Space
Department head of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab
where he oversaw and directly supervised the final preparation,
launch, and early mission operations for the MESSENGER spacecraft
to Mercury; president and COO of In-Q-Tel, where he led a private
non-profit, strategic venture capital organization created to
identify and develop advanced technologies for Central Intelligence
Agency applications; and executive positions with Orbital Sciences
Corporation, Space Industries International, and American Rocket
Company; service as the NASA chief engineer and associate
administrator for Exploration; and the deputy for technology for
the Department of Defense's Strategic Defense Initiative
A strong advocate for education, Griffin holds six postgraduate
degrees and has served as an adjunct professor and lecturer at
three different universities. He is also the lead author for more
than two dozen technical papers as well as writing the definitive
textbook on space vehicle design.
"Mike Griffin has made an enormous contribution to the American
Space Program throughout his career as a scientist, engineer, and
manager," said former Apollo astronaut and 2008 Trophy winner Capt.
Eugene Cernan. "Few people understand the challenges and rewards of
spaceflight like he does. Mike has been a visionary, but with a
realistic and pragmatic approach to the challenges he has faced.
Above all, Mike Griffin recognizes the positive educational impact
of our nation's space program on the youth of America."
RNASA Advisor and former Space Shuttle astronaut Capt. Ken
Reightler added, "Mike Griffin is one of those rare individuals who
is not afraid to tackle even the most difficult engineering and
management issues, such as those NASA has faced while implementing
the US Space Exploration Policy and during the return-to-flight
activities after the Columbia accident."
Griffin will receive his trophy at the RNASA annual black-tie
banquet to be held on Friday, May 8, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency
Houston. Veteran space correspondent Miles O'Brien will serve as
Master of Ceremonies.