The Board of Advisors of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation has selected NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations, William (Bill) H. Gerstenmaier, as the recipient of the 2010 National Space Trophy. As Associate Administrator, Gerstenmaier is responsible for oversight of all NASA's Space Shuttle, International Space Station (ISS), space launch services programs, the astronaut crew health program and the communication systems network.
Rodolfo Gonzalez, President of the RNASA Foundation in Houston, Texas, reported that Gerstenmaier was nominated for "his unwavering commitment and remarkable contributions to human space flight and providing outstanding leadership and direction to the exploration of space through his contributions to the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs."
Director of NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, Mrs. Lesa B. Roe, former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin, Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats, and RNASA Advisor and Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt nominated Gerstenmaier.
Roe said, "Gerstenmaier's career achievements and personal initiatives have had a direct impact on the current U.S. human space flight program, the international community, and residents of planet Earth. His efforts will continue to shape the future of space exploration for many years to come."
"It was my honor to work with Bill for four years," said Griffin, who received the National Space Trophy last year. "Quite simply, Bill Gerstenmaier is regarded as the ultimate authority on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. When he says something, people listen, and they know that what he says is true."
Coats added, "Bill's impact in the space community is unparalleled. He has literally guided an international group of thousands of individuals in many countries in furthering human space flight and assuring a continued human presence in space. The partnerships we currently enjoy with our international partners for the ISS are largely due to Bill's tremendous efforts and diligence."
Schmitt noted that "Gerstenmaier has masterfully carried the primary senior management responsibility (since 2005) for the success of Space Shuttle and International Space Station activities."
The RNASA Foundation is pleased to honor Bill Gerstenmaier at the 24th annual awards gala on April 30, 2010 at the Houston Hyatt Regency hotel. See http://www.rnasa.org for information about the event.
William H. Gerstenmaier is the Associate Administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. In this position, Gerstenmaier directs NASA's human exploration of space. He also has programmatic oversight for the International Space Station, Space Shuttle, space communications and space launch vehicles.
From Akron Ohio, Gerstenmaier began his NASA career in 1977 at the Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland, performing aeronautical research. He was involved with the wind tunnel tests that were used to develop the calibration curves for the air data probes used during entry on the space shuttle.
Gerstenmaier moved to Houston in 1980 to work at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). He served as a Propulsion Officer in the Mission Control Center during the early Space Shuttle program. Beginning in 1988, Gerstenmaier headed the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) Operations Office.
Subsequently, he headed Space Shuttle/Space Station Freedom Assembly Operations Office and served as Chief, Projects and Facilities Branch, Flight Design and Dynamics Division.
Gerstenmaier also served as Shuttle/Mir Program Operations Manager from 1995 to 1997. During this time, he acted as the primary liaison to the Russian Space Agency for operational issues and negotiated all protocols used in support of operations during the Shuttle/Mir missions. In 1997, the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation honored him with a Stellar Award in the Mid-Career category for his work on the Phase 1 Mir program.
In 1998, Gerstenmaier became manager of Space Shuttle Program Integration, where he had responsibility for the overall management, integration, and operations. In December 2000, he was named deputy manager of the International Space Station Program. He was named International Space Station program manager in 2002. He became NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations in 2005 and continues in that capacity today.
Gerstenmaier earned his BS in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1977, an MS in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo in 1981, and completed course work for a PhD in dynamics and control with emphasis in propulsion at Purdue in 1992-93.
He is married to the former Marsha Ann Johnson. They have two children.
Aviation Week and Space Technology has twice awarded Gerstenmaier with the Laureate Award for "Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Space." NASA recognized him with three Certificates of Commendation, two Exceptional Service Medals, and a Senior NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal. He received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives. The Huntsville National Space Club awarded him the Von Braun award in 2006. The Federation of Galaxy Explorers honored him with the 2007 Space Leadership Award. Purdue has bestowed several awards, including designation as an "Old Master" in 2008. He will receive RNASA's highest award, the National Space Trophy, on April 30, 2010.