The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation presented Apollo “Failure is Not An Option” Flight Director Eugene F. “Gene” Kranz with the prestigious 2007 National Space Trophy at their annual gala held April 20 at the Houston Hyatt Regency hotel.

The award has been presented annually for the past 21 years to an individual who has excelled in furthering national goals in the field of space. The winner is selected by the prestigious RNASA Board of Advisors.

Mr. Kranz’s citation read: “For outstanding achievements in his pivotal role in the development of flight control operations for all NASA manned space flights. World renowned for his resolve during the Apollo 13 trans-lunar abort rescue, failure was never an option.” — Joseph P. Kerwin, former Astronaut and President Wyle Labs (Retired).

Former NBC news correspondent and host of the Today Show, Jim Hartz served as Master of Ceremonies, and Dr. Christopher C. Kraft, Jr., former Director of NASA Johnson Space Center and a previous winner of the National Space Trophy, presented the trophy to Mr. Kranz. He said, “Gene Kranz has been one of the leading contributors to the exploration of space since the beginning of the space program in the U S. He has been prominent throughout his career in developing the concepts of flight control and is particularly known for his leadership and development of the flight control teams upon which human space flight depended for its success. He is most famous for the large roll he played in the rescue of Apollo 13. Kranz continues to be a bulwark in the space flight world and has lent his expertise to many groups throughout the country by providing advice on how to motivate people.”

Astronauts James Reilly, II. and Joan Higginbotham presented the RNASA Stellar Awards to 20 individuals and 6 teams. Each year the RNASA Foundation solicits nominations from NASA, the military and industry leaders in human and unmanned spaceflight programs for individual and team achievements to be recognized with Stellar Awards. This year’s 100 individual and 43 team nominations were evaluated based on which accomplishments hold the greatest promise for furthering future activities in space, and the winners in each of four categories were announced at the banquet. The 2007 Stellar Evaluators were former National Space Trophy winners Dr. Aaron Cohen, Dr. Chris Kraft, Jr., and Dr. Glynn Lunney.

Ms. Higginbotham, who worked 53 shuttle missions at Kennedy Space Center before becoming an astronaut, said, “The Stellar awards are important because they honor those who often work behind the scenes and whose careers and accomplishments may not be as visible as others.” Dr. Reilly, who will fly again on the next shuttle mission, currently scheduled for June 8, said, “We are all aware it takes the dedication and effort of thousands to get us into space, and these nominees represent the best of our best. Without the contributions of all the folks involved in the space program, and particularly the Stellar Nominees, it would be impossible to ensure a strong space program for our future.”

Six Stellar Awards were presented in the Early Career category that is for individuals up to age 33.

The winners are:

Capt Brian M. Clifford of the USAF — Exceptional contributions as the Flight Commander for the first two Vandenberg AFB Delta IV Missions, successfully placing National Reconnaissance Office and Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) payloads in orbit in direct support of the Global War on Terror.

Mr. Robert Crouch of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne — Dedication and leadership in supporting safe flight of the Space Shuttle.

Mr. Joshua B. Hopkins of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. — Development of safe trajectories enabling Atlas V to carry commercial passengers, and authoring the International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems, which has become the industry standard reference on launch vehicles.

Mr. Matthew P. Scudder of The Boeing Company — Significant knowledge and expertise resulting in recognition by the ISS program as the ISS expert in numerous program areas, including plasma contactor units, remote power control modules, electrical power system orbital replaceable unit firmware, and NASA’s Java mission evaluation workstation system data gathering and display software.

Mr. Mark Mulqueen accepted the award for Mr. Scudder.

Ms. Dana J. Weigel of NASA JSC — A history of strong technical ability and leadership resulting in her selection as a flight director in 2005, where she immediately began leading Mission Control in critical activities.

Mr. David R. York of The Boeing Company — Outstanding contributions in resolving critical technical issues as a result of his expertise in the area of large flexible body structural dynamics, and specifically for developing a tool currently used to calculate dynamic transient loads to help ensure the safety of the ISS crew.

Seven Stellar Awards were presented in the Middle-Career category that is for ages 33-50. The winners are:

Mr. Anthony J. Ceccacci of NASA JSC — Twenty-six years of key leadership in manned space flight, spanning flight control in all phases of shuttle flight, with unparalleled depth and breadth of systems expertise and operations experience and an exemplary record leading Mission Control as a shuttle flight director.

Mr. Robert R. Cuadros of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne — Outstanding support for the advancement of rocket propulsion systems for the nation’s space programs.

Ms. Kimberly B. Doering of NASA JSC — Outstanding contributions to the safe and highly successful Space Shuttle operations to continue the assembly of the ISS in 2005 and 2006.

Mr. Timothy G. Leonard of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne — Outstanding technical excellence in development and demonstration of engine throttle technology in support of space exploration upper stage and lunar lander applications.

Mrs. Wanda A. Sigur of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Michoud Operations — Outstanding leadership demonstrated during the return-to-flight effort on the Space Shuttle’s External Tank program.

Mr. Christopher E. Singer of NASA MSFC — Unwavering pursuit of innovative approaches to mitigate critical debris sources from propulsion elements and enable the safe return to flight of the Space Shuttle.

Mr. Carson W. Sparks of United Space Alliance — Service as a lead engineer for the Mission Operations Directorate’s Flight Design and Dynamics division’s Ascent/Entry Flight Dynamics unit, with significant contributions to safety of flight.

Seven Stellar Awards were presented in the Late Career category for individuals over 50. The winners are:

Mr. Eugene J. Beckett of United Space Alliance — Outstanding dedication and extraordinary contributions to the management of human spaceflight from Apollo to Space Shuttle programs.

Mr. Terry Boardman of ATK Launch Systems — Lifetime achievement for 30 years of exceptional vision, innovation and dedication in rocket motor technology development and engineering leadership on the Space Shuttle program.

Mr. Dan C Brandenstein of Lockheed Martin — Lifetime contributions to the advancement of space exploration and human space flight, with an outstanding career serving as a naval aviator, astronaut, pilot and commander of four Space Shuttle missions, corporate executive and program manager for the NASA Mission Support Operations Contract, and leading visionary safety advocacy and educational outreach initiatives.

Mr. Glenn M. Ecord of NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) — Setting up fracture control methodology for human spaceflight hardware that has allowed for the improved design of space vehicles and components and is utilized internationally.

Mr. James W. Kennedy of NASA Kennedy Space Center — Outstanding leadership and technical direction of NASA’s pioneering space endeavors and the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE).

Mr. Tommie C. Lacefield of Lockheed Martin Space Systems — Demonstrated excellence in furthering the future of space throughout a career at the Navy, NASA, and most recently as Lockheed Martin Project Orion Program Manager.

Mr. Robert T. Savely of NASA JSC — Extended, exemplary career advancing technology and furthering NASA’s critical interests in software, robotics, and navigation systems, affecting space missions from Apollo through the return to the Moon.

Six Stellar Awards were presented in the Team category. The winners are:

Education and Outreach Program Team of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute — Performance as a nationally recognized, top-tier program that is pioneering new models for exemplary teaching, training and public outreach, in support of the Vision for Space Exploration. The award was accepted by William Thomson on behalf of the team.

ISS Flight Software Team of The Boeing Company — Outstanding dedication and performance in reaching ISS assembly complete functionality, including providing on-orbit software to six-sigma level quality and gaining Software Engineering Institute certification to Capability Maturity Model Integration Level 5. The award was accepted by Gary W. Cooper on behalf of the team.

ISS Guidance, Navigation, and Control Team of The Boeing Company — Outstanding performance in overcoming serious threats to the ISS guidance, navigation and control system after the Columbia tragedy, most especially developing solutions for the control moment gyroscope, supporting shuttle return-to-flight, and resumption of ISS assembly. The award was accepted by Gregory W. Vajdos on behalf of the team.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Development and Operations team of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory — Successful development, launch, and operations of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is conducting remote sensing and world class science of the planet Mars. The award was accepted by James E. Graf on behalf of the team.

Nanotube Research and Development Team of ERC Inc. — Exceptional dedication, hard work, and technical excellence in furthering the understanding of nanomaterials and their application to fuel cells, lightweight composites, and carbon dioxide removal systems. The award was accepted by Sivaram S. Arepalli on behalf of the team.

Stardust Flight and Recovery Team of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory — Exceptional achievement during its historic seven-year planetary space flight to bring to Earth samples of primordial material from a cometary nucleus, unchanged since the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago, enabling study of the origin and evolution of our solar system and life on Earth. The award was accepted by Thomas C. Duxbury on behalf of the team.

Group photos of the winners, banquet speakers and presenters, and Mr. Kranz’s profile that appeared in the souvenir program book will be posted as soon as they are available at or can be obtained via request to . Photos of individual Stellar winners are available on request.