WASHINGTON, DC, January 8, 2019 (National Space Club PR) — The National Space Club and Foundation is pleased to announce that Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. has won the 2019 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy in recognition of his exceptional service to this country and its space program.
The trophy is the Club’s highest honor and is presented annually to the team or individual who has provided leadership in groundbreaking space and aeronautics capability for the United States of America. The award will be presented at the 62nd Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner, taking place at the Washington Hilton Hotel on Friday, March 22, 2019.
Speaking at the annual Goddard Memorial Symposium this week, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin urged the space community to come together behind the nation’s space priorities and to ostracize dissenters who engage in “harsh rhetoric.”
“The rift and harsh rhetoric between proponents of robotic science and human spaceflight does not help our nationâ€™s overall space effort one iota, but it does cause division that weakens us,” Griffin told the assembled crowd. “If we wish a better reality for tomorrow, we as a community must police this behavior; those who engage in it must be made to feel, and be, unwelcome in the community at large. My hope for today is that there will in the future be more respect for each othersâ€™ work.”
Griffin spoke admiringly of private space efforts, such as Virgin Galactic’s plans for suborbital tourism and Zero G Corporation’s parabolic flights. He promised the space agency will work as much as possible to obtain goods and services from private industry and to support the emerging commercial space sector. But, the NASA chief also called upon entrepreneurs to respect the nation’s space priorities.
“Over the course of my career in this business, I have often been disheartened by the large number of diverse ‘entrepreneurs’ in search of NASA funding who place their self interests over the greater good of the aerospace community,” Griffin said. “They do not respect the priorities set out for NASA by our duly-elected stakeholders in the White House and Congress, or even the priorities of their own respective science communities in National Academy decadal surveys.”
The NASA Administrator said that during his tenure, he has used rigorous analysis to make sure that the space agency can deliver on what it promises. NASA has too often underestimated the cost and complexity of its missions, causing it to lose credibility with Congress, the White House and the public.
“There was a time â€“ I remember it, and many of you will also â€“ when what ‘NASA’ said could be taken to the bank. Anyone here think itâ€™s like that today? Show of hands? … I didnâ€™t think so,” Griffin said.