Monday, January 18, 2010

Head of NASA Space Operations Honored With National Space Trophy

NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier has been selected to receive the 2010 National Space Trophy. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation. Each year, the foundation presents the trophy to an outstanding American who has made major contributions to our nation's space program. Previous awardees include former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin; NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong; Apollo 11 Flight Director Gene Kranz and President George H.W. Bush.

NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier. Image Credit: NASA

Since 2005, Gerstenmaier has been responsible for overseeing the International Space Station and Space Shuttle programs, space communications and space launch vehicles.

Lesa B. Roe, director of NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, NASA Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats, and RNASA Advisor and Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt nominated Gerstenmaier for the National Space Trophy.

"Gerstenmaier's career achievements and personal initiatives have had a direct impact on the current U.S. human space flight program, the international community, and residents of planet Earth," said Roe. "His efforts will continue to shape the future of space exploration for many years to come."

The National Space Trophy. Image Credit: NASA

Griffin said, "It was my honor to work with Bill for four years. Quite simply, Bill Gerstenmaier is regarded as the ultimate authority on the space shuttle and International Space Station. When he says something, people listen, and they know that what he says is true."

Coats added, "Bill's impact in the space community is unparalleled. He has literally guided an international group of thousands of individuals in many countries in furthering human space flight and assuring a continued human presence in space. The partnerships we currently enjoy with our international partners for the ISS are largely due to Bill's tremendous efforts and diligence."

Gerstenmaier will formally be recognized at a RNASA gala on April 30. The seven-foot, 500-pound lead crystal trophy is on display at Space Center Houston.

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