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Fri, Jan 30, 2009

Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin National Space Trophy Winner

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 Organization (SDIO).

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.

FMI: www.rnasa.org/

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