The National Space Club and Foundation is pleased to announce that William H. Gerstenmaier has won the 2020 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 63rd Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner, taking place at the Washington Hilton Hotel on Friday, March 20, 2020.
During his almost fourteen-year stewardship at the helm of NASA human spaceflight, Mr. Gerstenmaier demonstrated tenacity and perseverance coupled with strategic vision. His unique role and laser-like focus on space exploration gained the trust of several administrations, NASA administrators, and congresses. His professionalism and technical capability earned the reputation of being arguably the most influential person in US human spaceflight. As such, Mr. Gerstenmaier has been a powerful advocate for America’s space program. His wealth of experience, dedication, and credibility won bipartisan and bicameral support year after year that has been indispensable to the success of NASA, and a model of good governance.
As the Associate Administrator, first for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate (2005-2011), and then for Human Exploration and Operations Directorate for NASA during the critical years 2011-2019, he provided strategic direction for all aspects of NASA’s human exploration of space. Gerstenmaier provided leadership during the fly out of the Space Shuttle Program and provided programmatic direction for International Space Station assembly missions, completion and continuous operations and utilization of the International Space Station (ISS), including critically important coordination with NASA’s international partners that has developed over years into a growing coalition of nations committed to the peaceful exploration of space. During this same crucial period, he also led planning and development of the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft, and Exploration Ground Systems and the Artemis Moon Program, as well as planning for the United States’ human landing on Mars. At the same time, he provided strategic guidance and direction to the groundbreaking commercial crew and cargo programs which developed capabilities to convey payloads and people to the International Space Station as well as other destinations in low Earth orbit.
Mr. William Gerstenmaier will accept the Goddard Trophy at the 63rd Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner. Individuals and organizations interested in attending may find more information on our website For specific questions, please contact NSCF at or by calling 202-547-0060.
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The National Space Club and Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization devoted to fostering excellence in space activity through interaction between industry and government, and through a continuing program of educational support.  Youth Education is a premier focus of the Club, providing over $160,000 in scholarships and internships each year.  Awards are offered to recognize the advancement of space technology, and recognize and honor people who have contributed significantly to the fields of rocketry and astronautics.
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