Michael Griffin '77
The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation's National Board of Advisors has selected former NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin (Ph.D. '77, aerospace engineering) 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.
Griffin, a Bush appointee, ended his tenure as administrator of NASA on January 20, 2009.
The RNASA said it selected Griffin for: developing the plan for completion of the International Space Station following the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia, personally directing the shuttle return-to-flight activities; initiating the first procurement of commercial cargo and crew service in the agency's history; successfully establishing the architecture for a sustainable, achievable, and technically viable human exploration program; and awarding the initial spacecraft and launch vehicle contracts that will ensure the program meets its demanding schedule.
According to RNASA, 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.
Former Apollo astronaut and 2008 Trophy winner Capt. Eugene Cernan said, "Mike Griffin has made an enormous contribution to the American Space Program throughout his career as a scientist, engineer, and manager. 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 U.S. 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, in Houston.
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