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66th Annual Goddard Memorial Dinner Awardees
The 2023 Awardees
Washington, DC – The National Space Club & Foundation is pleased to announce its Annual Award Recipients. The Awards are selected by panels of experts from across the aerospace and defense industry, government and academia and are a testament to the inspiring work of individuals throughout the United States. The Awards were presented at the 66th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Awards Dinner held on Friday, March 10th at the Washington Hilton.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and Northrop Grumman Industry Team will receive the Club’s preeminent award, the Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy. The James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) is the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built, designed to see the earliest stars and galaxies in the universe. Webb will help solve mysteries in our solar system, discovering distant planets and help scientists trace the origins of our universe and humankind’s place in it. To accomplish Webb’s ambitious scientific mission, Northrop Grumman and its partners invented 10 technologies, including revolutionary optics, detectors, thermal control systems, a deployable sunshield, cryocooler technologies and the manufacturing of a lightweight composite backplane to carry the weight of Webb’s mirror, telescope optics and scientific instruments.
Over the course of several weeks, the Webb team flawlessly executed a series of complex mechanical maneuvers to deploy the systems sunshield and mirrors, made a series of fine adjustments to the telescope’s optics to bring it to precise alignment, and tested Webb’s state-of-the-art scientific instruments, bringing them to operational cryogenic temperatures, all necessary to begin Webb’s mission.
Since commissioning, Webb has revealed never-before-seen images of stars and galaxies and detailed observations of planets outside the solar system, marking a new era in astronomy. Webb continues to perform above and beyond expectations and has proven to be an engineering marvel.
Key Members of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and Northrop Grumman Industry Team include: Scott Willoughby, Program Manager, Northrop Grumman; Bill Ochs, Project Manager, NASA (retired); Vince Heeg, Deputy Program Manager, Northrop Grumman; John Durning, Deputy Project Manager, NASA (retired); Josh Levi, Senior Fellow, Northrop Grumman; Gus Makrygiannis, Deputy Program Manager, Northrop Grumman; Paul Geithner, Deputy Project Manager-Technical, NASA (retired); Michael Menzel, Mission Systems Engineer, NASA; Dr. Massimo Stiavelli, Head, Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI); Paul Lightsey, Chief Engineer, Ball Aerospace. View the Press Release • Watch the Video
Coleman Goulding, a freshman at Missouri University of Science and Technology, is the recipient of the Goddard Memorial Dinner’s Keynote Scholarship. Mr. Goulding is pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering with aspirations of earning his master’s degree, along with a minor in physics. Mr. Goulding excelled in high level courses and earned a variety of honors including taking first place in the Astronomy event at the regional Science Olympiad competition and being named a commended student in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. Mr. Goulding was also named an Illinois State Scholar, an AP Scholar with Distinction, and he received a Biliteracy Seal Commendation for Spanish. Passionate about the arts, Mr. Goulding is also a self-taught musician. He led his section in marching band, performed in his high school’s musicals, and was appointed assistant director. He has even released music with his friends.
In his first semester of college, Mr. Goulding joined the Mars Rover Design Team and led the subproject design on a subproject of the rover’s manipulator. This semester, he plans to join the Satellite Design Team and will continue to grow his knowledge and experiences to one day revolutionize the way humanity understands the universe itself. Read the full Press Release • Watch the Video
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) Team is the recipient of the Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award for its outstanding contribution to the mission, aircraft, or space field. Designed, built, and operated by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, NASA’s DART mission was the world’s first planetary defense test mission, successfully impacting the non-Earth-threatening asteroid Dimorphos and altering its orbit around its companion asteroid by a staggering 33 minutes. The first mission of NASA’s planetary Defense Coordination Office, DART not only demonstrated a viable technique to protect the planet from an Earth-bound asteroid or comet, should one ever be discovered, but also provided critical data about asteroid-scale effects that scientists and engineers need for predicting the results of any future kinetic impact mission.
Launched in 2021, DART departed Earth for a 10 month one-way trip to its final destination. It was equipped with a suite of novel technologies, including an autonomous guidance system that isolated its target and directed the spacecraft during its final hours. These enabling technologies are helping to pave new paths for future space exploration and planetary defense missions. Watch the Video
Dr. Stephanie Stevenson, Meteorologist, NOAA/NWS/NCEP National Hurricane Center, is the recipient of the NOAA David Johnson Award. Dr. Stevenson is recognized for her ground-breaking research on the link between GOES-R Geostationary Lightning Mapper observations and hurricane intensification, and transition of new GOES-based products into National Hurricane Center (NHC) operations. Dr. Stevenson addressed all aspects of the transition process, including data flows, algorithm development, transition to operational computer systems, forecaster training, and display on NHC systems, thereby single-handedly completing the research-to-operations process. Through her efforts, new GOES-R applications are being used as guidance for NHC forecasters and in media and decision support briefings. Watch the Video
Major Ruben Ihuit, Chief, Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) Engineering Branch, is the recipient of the General Bernard Schriever Award. Maj Ihuit led a 17-person team to successfully verify over 950 requirements on United States Space Force’s first-ever Military-Code GPS aviation receiver. He skillfully directed a test campaign with zero disruptions, enabling a 10,000-hour Reliability Demonstration Test and validating $1.7 billion of enhanced anti-jam, anti-spoof, anti- tamper, and blue force electronic attack capabilities.
Furthermore, Maj Ihuit led the systems engineering test activities for the $1.9 billion Military GPS User Equipment Increment 2 program. He forged a partnership with over 25 external GPS programs to include France’s OMEGA program and NASA’s Space Launch System Block 1B vehicle. Watch the Video
Michael Menzel, Chief Engineer for James Webb Space Telescope and Program Manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will receive the Norman L. Baker Astronautics Engineer Award. Mr. Menzel is recognized for his outstanding technical leadership of the James Webb Space Telescope Project through the successful development, launch, deployment, commissioning and start of a history making mission to explore the furthest reaches of the universe. Watch the Video
Peter King, Reporter, CBS News Radio, will receive the Press Award for his outstanding coverage of the space program while working at CBS News Radio. Peter King has been a voice of America’s space program for more than 25 years, covering the Space Shuttle program from 1995 to its conclusion in 2011, multiple robotic and science missions, the beginning of commercial spaceflight and the return of America’s human spaceflight program. His reporting has won many awards, including several shared Edward R. Murrow and Headliner Awards at CBS News and "Best Investigative Reporting" and "Best Serious Feature" from The Associated Press of Florida. Watch the Video
Dr. Timothy Gillespie, Technical Director, Survivability Assurance Office, National Reconnaissance Office will receive the Dr. Joseph V. Charyk Award for providing technical oversight influencing National Reconnaissance Office resiliency strategies and investment decisions for six major system acquisitions. Dr. Gillespie steered two Presidential directed Space Strategic Reviews, ensuring protection concepts and enterprise equities were reflected in the whole-of-government review. His leadership enhanced mission partner collaboration, aligning Department of Defense and Intelligence Community strategic space architectures. His engagement directly led to hundreds of millions of dollars invested in improving the National Reconnaissance Office’s constellation resiliency. Dr. Gillespie’s distinctive accomplishments strengthened resilient space architecture for the next 15 years. Watch the Video
Robin Merritt, Engineering Instructor, Clear Creek High School, will receive the Space Educator Award. He is recognized for creativity and dedication as a career space educator engaging, inspiring and preparing students for the space frontier. Space educators provide research opportunities and career guidance to create the next generation of Space professionals. Watch the Video
About the National Space Club & Foundation
The National Space Club and Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to fostering excellence in space activity through interaction between industry and government, and through a continuing program of educational support. Awards are offered to recognize significant achievements in space science and enterprise. Scholarships and other education support are a major focus of Club activity.
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