nasa-logo To The DSM Honorees

NASA’s 2017
Distinguished Service Medal and Distinguished Public Service Medal Honorees

The NASA Distinguished Service Medal and Distinguished Public Service Medal are NASA's highest form of recognition, awarded to individuals who, by distinguished service, ability or vision, have personally contributed to NASA's advancement of United States' interests. The individual's achievement or contribution must demonstrate a level of excellence that has made a profound or indelible impact on NASA mission success, and therefore, the contribution is so extraordinary that other forms of recognition by NASA would be inadequate.


Distinguished Public Service Medal Honorees


Photo of Terry Able

Mr. Terry Abel

For exceptional dedication to the education of young aerospace professionals by sponsoring, organizing, and participating in activities related to space exploration.

Mr. Abel demonstrated exceptional dedication to the education of young professionals for the past 33 years as part of Lockheed Martin Space Systems. As Manager and Technical Liaison to the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), he excelled in educational outreach and has served a key role in developing, promoting, and sponsoring the national Human Exploration Rover Challenge and MSFC’s Internship Initiative. Mr. Abel is the liaison to MSFC for the Human Exploration Rover Challenge, which over 24 years has engaged more than 10,000 students, creating human mobility devices to traverse simulated surfaces of other worlds. Additionally, the National Space Club (NSC) appointed him Vice Chair for Education, and he led the group to sponsor and organize events and scholarships that impacted 26,000 students over the past 9 years.


Photo of Frank Bauer

Mr. Frank Bauer

For distinguished public service in enabling the enhanced use of the Global Positioning System for satellites by NASA and the United States.

In 2011, Mr. Bauer retired from NASA after completing a 30-year career, but he never stopped supporting NASA in Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and policy. He represented NASA and the United States (U.S.) at five international meetings in the last 5 years, several under the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, where world space policy is agreed to. Through his contributions, NASA and the U.S.’ interests were maintained. Mr. Bauer also negotiated with the U.S. Air Force (USAF), owners of the U.S. GPS system, to use laser retroreflectors on the next generation of GPS satellites, enhancing GPS satellites to serve users on Earth and in space, and contributed to the GPS Space Service Volume being adopted by the USAF. Without Mr. Bauer’s work, the U.S. would not have the GPS capabilities or reputation it does in the world navigation community.


Photo of Dr. Eric De Jong

Dr. Eric De Jong

For unparalleled contributions to the public appreciation of humanity’s exploration of the cosmos through the creation of extraordinary visualization experiences.

Dr. De Jong is a pioneer in rapid development of visualization products and imaging processing for scientific investigation and public outreach. In his 40-year career, he played an enormous role in society’s appreciation of NASA’s work and created vivid experiences for the public and the scientific community. As Principal Investigator for NASA’s Solar System Visualization Project, Dr. De Jong leads a team to create new science visualization products by developing software for high-speed computers to generate animations for public release and mission planning. He pioneered the use of stereo HDTV, IMAX, and digital cinema technology for the visualization of planetary surfaces and atmospheres and created planetary image and animation sequences for seven IMAX films. His work is used on television and in museums around the world, bringing the NASA experience directly to the public.


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Mr. Edward Devine

(Awarded Posthumously)

For a lifetime of service and dedication to the development of spaceflight mechanical systems and the education of younger engineers.

Mr. Devine (deceased January 15, 2015) devoted his entire life to the development of spaceflight mechanical systems, training young engineers, and advancing the state of the art within his discipline, which is critical to meeting the objectives of NASA and the greater scientific and engineering communities. He was a founding father of the mechanical systems discipline at Goddard Space Flight Center. Projects he supported include the Cosmic Background Explorer, Hubble Space Telescope, and manned flight and satellite servicing missions. After retiring from civil service, he led the mechanism group at Swales Aerospace and continued to train NASA and contractor mechanism and opto-mechanical engineers. He also supported mechanisms and instrument developments, the NASA Engineering & Safety Center (NESC) Mechanical Systems Technical Discipline Team, and four critical NESC Assessments.


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Mr. Michael Dorsch

For exceptional success in developing commercial resupply services to the International Space Station.

Mr. Dorsch serves as Chief Engineer for the Orbital ATK development of a new commercial launch capability to resupply critical cargo and supplies for the International Space Station (ISS). As Chief Engineer for the Antares launch vehicle, he demonstrated exceptional leadership and ingenuity and was critical in creating a new medium-lift rocket line for the ISS to provide cargo resupply services. He led the first Antares configuration and its upgraded version to meet growing ISS requirements, and later, led a diverse team from the United States, Russia, and Ukraine through several design iterations of the Stage 1 Core to Engine interface and eventual integration of new engines into the Antares launch vehicle. His work will allow NASA to have three options to support cargo services to the ISS, offering better reliability and failure tolerance.


Photo of Dr. Alan Hargens

Dr. Alan Hargens

For outstanding scientific contributions to NASA to expand the knowledge of cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health risks in astronauts during space flight.

For over 30 years, Dr. Hargens, Professor of Orthopedics at University of California, San Diego, demonstrated exceptional leadership in the study of spaceflight-induced adaptations of the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems. He developed innovative research approaches and served as Principal Investigator on a series of bed rest experiments investigating chronic unloading on cardiovascular, muscle, bone, and spinal health, using an innovative research strategy with identical twins. Collaborating with scientists across the globe, Dr. Hargens serves as co-investigator for the most complex human physiological experiment ever undertaken on the International Space Station, “Fluid Shifts,” and is a co-investigator on the Twins study. His work has directly contributed to human space exploration with resulting research spinoffs that inform the medical community at large.


Photo of Kauser Imtiaz

Mr. Kauser Imtiaz

For distinguished service and leadership in international cooperation and advancements in International Space Station Structural Integrity and Fracture Control.

Mr. Imtiaz is a multidisciplined expert in structural engineering and has been an invaluable asset to the International Space Station (ISS) for more than 24 years. He was the first engineer sought out by NASA to tackle emerging structural anomalies and single-handedly drove the highly complex Common Berthing Mechanism into a sophisticated system. In 2000, he took charge of the entire ISS structure and led teams to complete assembly by 2012. He wrote a remarkable software program to streamline joint analyses across the ISS that continues to benefit the ISS, is an authority on Fracture Mechanics, and one of a handful of experts on Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessels in the aerospace industry. He holds the unique distinction of being the only structural engineer with critical analytical contributions to every United States and International component of the largest structure in space.


Photo of Dr. Roger Launius

Dr. Roger Launius

For distinguished service, promoting our Nation’s history in aeronautics, space, and selfless leadership in promoting the highest standards in Federal historical endeavors.

Dr. Launius served as NASA’s Chief Historian from 1990 through 2002, revolutionizing NASA’s History Program. He dramatically expanded the output of published works, established the NASA History Web site as the preeminent source of data regarding NASA’s history, and most historical NASA data available online can be directly traced to his work. He produced editorials, journal articles, internal policy, analytical works for NASA decision makers, and NASA history volumes. Since 2002, Dr. Launius worked as a researcher and author, producing over a dozen books—four written for the NASA History series at no cost. He played a major role in the national Centennial of Flight celebrations in 2003, served as a historical consultant to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, and was essential in NASA’s centennial celebration of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 2015.


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Mr. Edward Nace

For significant and lasting contributions to Mission Operations, extraordinary service to NASA, dedication to fellow employees, and outstanding work ethic.

Over Mr. Nace’s 47-year career, he has made lasting contributions in the area of mission operations. He has implemented ground system automation that led to a widespread adoption of systems and processes which resulted in significant efficiencies gained in mission operations costs. Later, he was recruited to be a key advisor to the Hubble Mission Operations project team and worked with NASA to successfully reduce the International Solar Terrestrial Physics mission ground systems costs by 70 percent. As Ground Systems and Mission Operations contract Project Manager, he leads all contractor operations teams within the Space Science Mission Operations project and has overseen a remarkable era of increasing ground system autonomy and exceptional operations performance, achieving significant gains in efficiency and productivity while minimizing operational errors.


Photo of Dr. Christopher Russell

Dr. Christopher Russell

For distinguished public service to NASA, in the exploration of planetary interiors and magnetospheres, and leading Dawn’s groundbreaking exploration of Vesta and Ceres.

Dr. Russell, Professor at University of California, Los Angeles, and Dawn Principal Investigator, significantly contributed to NASA during his 50-year career through his instruments and analyses characterizing magnetospheres of Earth and other planets. He contributed to the investigations that discovered anomalous conductivity consistent with a subsurface ocean on Europa, detected an internal magnetic field at Ganymede, and documented plume activity on Enceladus. He made a groundbreaking discovery of the patchy reconnection process that causes flux transfer events on the magnetopause, which has spawned new generations of missions and is the basis for work on reconnection in space plasmas. He has delivered unique data from Vesta and Ceres, including discoveries of clays, carbonates, and recent geologic activity at Ceres that have stimulated new ideas about ocean world evolution.


Photo of John Salisbury

Mr. John Salisbury

For exemplary dedication and service in the development, installation, and operation of the Space Launch System’s Core Stage Vertical Assembly Center manufacturing tool.

Mr. Salisbury has made significant contributions to NASA for the past 27 years that include microgravity projects, environment control and life support systems, and the Ares and Space Launch System (SLS) launch vehicles. His contributions as a tooling engineer on the SLS Program in implementing the unique major tools required to build the core stage extend to his support of the tooling operations and assistance in resolving complex problems. He transformed the Ares tooling for use on the SLS core stage and is responsible for the Vertical Assembly Center (VAC), vertical weld center, robotic weld tools, segmented ring tools, and the dome rounding break over tool, and transitioned them to SLS. Following VAC installation, a significant issue was identified, and Mr. Salisbury led the recovery effort by setting clear plans and working tirelessly to enable production to be underway now.


Photo of John Sterritt

Mr. John Sterritt

For unprecedented cryogenic propulsion technical leadership, benefiting human space flight and exploration programs.

Early in his career, Mr. Sterritt became the authority of Main Propulsion System (MPS) and cryogenic propulsion. He was instrumental in the resolution of anomalies, cryogenic loading, and MPS launch operations, and supported an unprecedented 124 of 135 Space Shuttle Program (SSP) missions. After the SSP completion, Mr. Sterritt joined the Test Operations Support Contract team, where he applied his cryogenic propulsion knowledge to develop ground and flight systems in support of the Space Launch System Core Stage and Upper Stage booster configurations. He was critical in the assignment of MPS measurements to various data streams and to developing the Wet Dress Rehearsal test plan and defining required test operations to ensure cryogenic systems perform as needed in a launch environment. His mark on America’s Space Program is profound and still growing.


Photo of Dr. Forman Williams

Dr. Forman Williams

For outstanding contributions to the field of combustion science and for his pioneering work using microgravity space experiments to reveal exciting new phenomena.

Professor (emeritus) Williams of the University of California at San Diego is receiving this award in recognition of his exemplary contributions to NASA in the field of microgravity combustion science. His work with NASA spans over 40 years, beginning with his pioneering use of space-based microgravity facilities to study fundamental combustion problems in the absence of gravitational forces while helping to build the international microgravity community. He was the Principal Investigator on combustion experiments that have successfully flown on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station and has mentored countless students, engineers and scientists. He recently discovered a new mode of low-temperature droplet burning which has created a new method to study low temperature chemical kinetics and provided tangible evidence of the significance of ISS combustion research.


Photo of Ms. Roberta Wyrick

Ms. Roberta Wyrick

For enabling human space flight and exploration through superior test management leadership that spans multiple programs.

Ms. Wyrick’s exemplary efforts span multiple decades and numerous programs, from pioneering the development of the Ground Launch Sequencer, critical software used for 30 years until the Space Shuttle Program was completed, to serving as Launch Orbiter Test Conductor (OTC) for an unprecedented 16 missions. She was OTC for the final Space Shuttle flight, and then accepted a position on the Test Operations Support Contract, supporting Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) on integrated test and launch planning. Ms. Wyrick applied her extensive Shuttle program experience to the Space Launch System/Orion/GSDO launch planning and was instrumental in laying out the Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) launch countdown operations, co-establishing the foundation for EM-1 launch philosophy, schedules, and procedures. Her mark on America’s space program truly is indelible.

Distinguished Service Medal Honorees

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Photo of Stephen Cash

Mr. Stephen Cash

For distinguished service, outstanding technical and leadership abilities, and exceptional dedication to the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Agency.

A 34-year NASA veteran, Mr. Cash distinguished himself as an excellent leader of people, and a subject matter expert in design, development, test, and manufacture of large complex space propulsion systems. As the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) Manager of the Shuttle Propulsion Office, Mr. Cash oversaw the successful fly-out of the Shuttle, leading the transition of crucial Shuttle assets to the next-generation launch vehicle. As Director of the Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate, his team explored state-of-the-art techniques for evaluating pressure vessel systems to ensure continued safe operations, and he led extensive safety initiatives resulting in onsite lost-time mishap rates five times lower than the national average for similar industries. His sustained achievements resulted in lasting impact toward advancing scientific discovery and opening new frontiers of space.


Photo of Dr. Jeffrey Davis

Dr. Jeffrey Davis

For exceptional leadership of the Human Health and Performance Directorate and advancement of NASA’s human space flight mission.

Dr. Davis has provided outstanding leadership to NASA’s space life sciences and medical operations communities of practice as Director, Human Health and Performance Directorate, for his entire tenure of 12 years. He developed a standards-to-requirements-to-deliverables approach to astronaut health protection and maintenance, setting the stage for creating the Human System Risk Board, and the systematic risk management approach to human research and astronaut health care employed through the integrated efforts of the Human Research Program and Space Medicine Operations. He also instituted Health and Medical Technical Authority across NASA, enhancing NASA flight surgeons’ and life sciences experts’ ability to contribute and improve human systems integration and human space flight operations..


Photo of Mr. Michael French

Mr. Michael French

For relentless pursuit of excellence across NASA, Government, and Industry and inspirational support and advancement of our Nation’s Aeronautics and Space Programs.

Mr. French served as NASA’s Chief of Staff and as a Senior Advisor to NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., from October 2014 to January 2017. He also served as Deputy Chief of Staff for more than 2 years. Prior to joining NASA, Mr. French’s work spanned several roles, including senior advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, deputy director of Cabinet Affairs at the White House, and counsel to the chairman of the Federal Election Commission. Before joining the Federal Government workforce, he practiced law in the defense-aerospace sector as an attorney in Los Angeles, California. In 2008, Mr. French served as an in-house counsel to the Obama for America campaign and as an attorney to the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.


Photo of Dr. Peter Gnoffo

Dr. Peter Gnoffo

For distinguished impact on the success of human spaceflight and planetary exploration missions in the field of aerothermodynamics.

In his more than 40-year career at NASA Langley, Dr. Peter Gnoffo is recognized internationally for his ground-breaking contributions to the field of computational aerothermodynamics. Early in his career he created pioneering computational algorithms for NASA’s highest performing supercomputers, leading to development of LAURA, the first aerothermodynamic simulation code for reentry vehicles modeling the full set of governing equations. By 1990, Dr. Gnoffo’s simulation codes were the world-wide state-of-the-art for combined high-energy physical modeling, hypersonic CFD algorithms, and high-performance parallelized computing. He has made critical contributions to the development of the Space Shuttle Orbiter, the Mars Pathfinder, and most recently the Orion Spacecraft. His work has greatly impacted the safety and success of NASA’s human space flight and planetary exploration missions.


Photo of Ms. Kelly Hayhurst

Ms. Kelly Hayhurst

For distinguished service, sustained excellence, and exceptional contributions to the advancement of safety-critical assurance technologies.

For over 35 years, Ms. Kelly Hayhurst has conducted exceptional research to ensure that aviation software systems increased the safety of America’s air travel and solidified NASA as an essential partner to the Federal Aviation Administration for flight software certification. She has held many high-impact leadership roles at NASA, writing or co-writing over 50 scientific and technical reports, maintaining international collaborations, and receiving many letters of appreciation, awards, and recognitions. Her groundbreaking work as a leader of research directed at reliability requirements and airworthiness certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) helped define hazard severities, functional hazard assessments, and operational factors affecting UAS classification. Ms. Hayhurst’s contributions as an international leader in software certification have been profound and enduring.


Photo of Ms. Robin Henderson

Ms. Robin Henderson

For 33 years of distinguished service to NASA that has made a profound impact on NASA’s mission success.

Ms. Henderson’s 33-year NASA career has been characterized by remarkable achievements resulting in outstanding contributions to the Nation’s space flight and science exploration missions. She served as Business Manager of the Microgravity and Upper Stage project offices and as Deputy and Acting Manager of the Microgravity Research Program, became Chief Operating Officer of the National Space Science and Technology Center, and has been the Associate Director of Marshall Space Flight Center since 2004. Her expert guidance of one of NASA’s largest Centers is unparalleled. Her dedication to NASA’s missions and her commitment to public trust have resulted in a legacy of extraordinary achievement and distinguished service to the nation.


Photo of Dr. Michael Hesse

Dr. Michael Hesse

For exemplary service to NASA leading Goddard Space Flight Center’s Heliophysics Science Division.

Dr. Hesse retired from NASA in December 2016, after 25 years of exceptional service to NASA’s Heliophysics enterprise at GSFC, first as a research scientist, then for more than 5 years as the Chief of the Space Weather Laboratory and for 5 more years as the Director of the Heliophysics Science Division (HSD), the largest organization of its kind in the world. Early in his career, Dr. Hesse made a major mark by conceiving, establishing, and leading the Community Coordinated Modeling Center (CCMC). Starting from modest beginnings, CCMC is now a unique organization and gold standard in the world, which provides the worldwide research community access to modern space science simulations. Dr. Hesse has had a deep impact on NASA’s Heliophysics missions. At GSFC, Dr. Hesse led the CubeSat revolution long before the inherent potential of the emerging technology was recognized.


Photo of Mr. Steven Kempler

Mr. Steven Kempler

For distinguished service in the development of NASA Earth science data products and services.

For over 30 years, Mr. Kempler made innumerable contributions to advance our science mission by leading development of satellite data services and the Goddard Earth Science Data and Information Services Center. He contributed to the confirmation of the Big Bang theory by designing the data acquisition and processing systems for the Cosmic Background Explorer’s Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment and Far Infrared Absolute Spectrophotometer. He consistently sought innovative ways to further access and use Earth science data, including integrating NASA Earth science data into the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s world agricultural decision support systems. He championed a multifaceted science data archive and distribution service that became one of the preeminent implementation examples of the Nation’s policy on free, open access to scientific data.


Photo of Ms. Brenda Manuel

Ms. Brenda Manuel

For distinguished leadership, dedication, and commitment to NASA’s missions, and advancing diversity and inclusion, which will benefit the Nation for generations to come.

Throughout Ms. Manuel’s 37-year NASA career, she continually strived to lead groundbreaking equal opportunity and diversity and inclusion initiatives. Most recently, she served as the Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity and is a dynamic and recognized leader in the fields of Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and grantee civil rights compliance. Under her leadership, NASA was recognized by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for having one of the most successful diversity and inclusion frameworks in Government. Ms. Manuel also spearheaded the Agency’s EEO Plan endorsed by the U.S. EEO Commission as an innovative, potential Government-wide model. Ms. Manuel served on a number of White House and senior-level NASA boards and panels that set the strategic and policy direction of the Federal Government and the Agency.


Photo of Ms. Carol Mosier

Ms. Carol Mosier

For exceptional sustained performance and dedication to achieve high levels of success towards the past, present and future NASA missions.

Ms. Mosier retired after more than 32 years of exceptional service to NASA and the Federal Government. During her tenure, she was a highly distinguished member of the Thermal Engineering Branch at Goddard Space Flight Center, and her contributions were second to none. In recent years, she was instrumental in the success of the Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) instrument on the Landsat 8 mission. She was also key to the success of a number of other missions, instruments, and spacecraft, including the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, the Composite Infrared Spectrometer instrument on the Cassini Saturn mission, the Astro-E1 and -E2 cryogenic missions, and the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory rover. Ms. Mosier is recognized for improving the Branch’s IT infrastructure and for a sustained high level of performance throughout her career.


Photo of Mr. Ronald Mueller

Mr. Ronald Mueller

For distinguished service, ability, and vision, leading to a profound and indelible impact on NASA’s Space Shuttle, Launch Services, and Commercial Crew Programs.

Mr. Mueller made a profound impact on over 90 Launch Services Program missions and 40 Space Shuttle Program missions, and established the foundations for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. He interfaced with the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, and Office of Space Architect, as well as senior Agency management, to gain acceptance for the consolidation of NASA’s Expendable Launch Vehicle workforce and launch vehicles from multiple Centers, creating the Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center. As Chief of the Fluids and Propulsion Mission Support Branch in the Engineering Directorate, he leads teams certifying Falcon, Delta, and Atlas vehicles for flight in NASA’s commercial endeavors, providing critical engineering to accident investigations. He consistently shows his tremendous capability and leadership in support of the NASA mission.


Photo of Dr. Dava Newman

Dr. Dava Newman

For extraordinary contributions and outstanding leadership of NASA and advancing our Innovation and Technology, STEM, and our Nation in Aeronautics and Space.

Dr. Newman is the immediate past Deputy Administrator of NASA, serving from May 2015 to January 2017. During her tenure, Dr. Newman tirelessly advocated for our Nation’s space program. She continually encouraged emerging leaders in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and design to become active in the space industry. Prior to her appointment, she was involved with the Agency as a researcher and Principal Investigator. Having flown four space experiments to measure astronaut performance in the microgravity environment onboard the Space Shuttle, Mir space station, and the International Space Station, she is recognized for the development of the BioSuit. She is the first female engineer to serve as Deputy Administrator and the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in aerospace biomedical engineering.


Photo of Dr. Paul Newman

Dr. Paul Newman

For sustained leadership strengthening the scientific basis of the Montreal Protocol resulting in the 2016 Kigali Amendment controlling hydro-fluorocarbon emissions.

Dr. Newman, Chief Scientist for Atmospheric Sciences at Goddard Space Flight Center, is an internationally recognized authority on the processes that govern the stratospheric ozone layer, especially the Antarctic ozone hole. NASA is one of the primary agencies tasked with assessing the ozone layer, and Dr. Newman’s work has been fundamental to the scientific basis of the implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the only environmental agreement signed by all of the world’s nations. Dr. Newman is an expert on the processes controlling the ozone hole and has written papers on its size, its expected duration, and the expected evolution of ozone-depleting substances. His novel simulation of the global catastrophe that was averted demonstrated the fate of the world if chlorofluorocarbon production had continued unabated.


Photo of Mr. David Radzanowski

Mr. David Radzanowski

For extraordinary career contributions, distinguished service, and outstanding leadership in support of our Nation’s Aeronautics and Space Programs.

Serving as NASA’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from 2014 until 2017, Mr. Radzanowski ensured that the Agency’s resources were effectively employed toward the achievement of NASA strategic plans. He managed the NASA budget and financial operations, directed the preparation and submission of annual financial and budgetary reports, and coordinated financial management activities with other Federal agencies. Prior to his selection as CFO, Mr. Radzanowski served in several roles, including Chief of Staff and principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., Deputy Associate Administrator for Program Integration for the Space Operations Mission Directorate with oversight responsibility for Space Shuttle Transition and Retirement activities, and Assistant Associate Administrator for the Resources Management and Analysis Office within Space Operations.


Photo of Mr. Albert Sofge

Mr. Albert Sofge

For exceptional leadership and dedication to advancing human space exploration, a legacy that lives on in those he inspired at NASA and with our international partners.

Mr. Sofge was a tremendous asset during his 40-year career as he dedicated himself to advancing human space exploration. He began as an engineer, working every crewed Apollo launch before rising to Shuttle Test Director and leading the Space Shuttle Launch Team through 16 Shuttle launches and 2 engine shutdown aborts. He was Kennedy Space Center’s Deputy Director of Safety and Mission Assurance prior to joining NASA Headquarters Launch Services Program as Chief of Staff for the International Space Station (ISS), where he, in wake of the Columbia Accident, led the development of NASA’s Implementation Plan for ISS Continuing Flight. Lastly, as Director of the Human Exploration and Operations Division, his work to extend human presence into the solar system included international agreements and exploration activities beyond low Earth orbit.


Photo of Dr. Ellen Stofan

Dr. Ellen Stofan

For outstanding leadership, dedication, and commitment to NASA’s science program and mission, which will benefit the Nation for generations to come.

Dr. Stofan served the Agency and the Nation as the Chief Scientist from August 2013 to December 2016, providing exemplary leadership of the Agency’s science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments. From 1991 through 2000, she held a number of senior scientist positions at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including chief scientist for NASA’s New Millennium Program, deputy project scientist for the Magellan Mission to Venus, and experiment scientist for SIR-C, an instrument that provided radar images of Earth on two Shuttle flights in 1994. Dr. Stofan’s advocacy for improving science communication and inspiring our youth to pursue STEM careers has advanced the world’s understanding of NASA’s endeavors in space and Earth science.


Photo of Mr. Patrick Troutman

Mr. Patrick Troutman

For distinguished service as a visionary leader in the advancement of NASA’s human exploration architecture.

For more than 20 years, Mr. Troutman’s visionary leadership of human exploration architectures has made critical impacts that continue to shape the Agency’s strategy for sustaining humans on Mars. His visioning has substantially informed space technology priorities and his leadership was instrumental in the successful development of the Evolvable Mars Campaign, where he oversaw transportation element definition and analyses, campaign analyses, technological systems maturation timelines, and the integration of key decision factors. Mr. Troutman’s vision of a habitat development and testing strategy that leverages both International Space Station capabilities and cis-lunar space, combined with a reusable hybrid spacecraft design and habitation concepts was the key to the viability of NASA’s strategy for the human exploration of Mars.


Photo of Ms. Tereasa Washington

Ms. Tereasa Washington

For 34 years of distinguished service to NASA that has made a profound impact on NASA’s mission success.

Ms. Washington’s early career was marked by success while serving in the Office of Chief Counsel representing Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). She excelled as a principal advisor to Center management while supporting numerous personnel and litigation matters. In 1995, Ms. Washington was named Director, Human Resources and Administrative Support Office, where she implemented the Employee Development Technology Center and worked tirelessly to develop a Culture Change Roadmap focused on developing leadership capabilities and a values-based empowered culture at MSFC. In 2004, she became Director of the Office of Human Capital, where she directed organization development, workforce planning and analysis, and Federal labor relations. A career-long commitment to fostering a diverse, well-developed workforce for mission success is one of Ms. Washington’s greatest legacies.


Photo of Mr. David Weaver

Mr. David Weaver

For exemplary strategic leadership, dedication, and distinguished service to NASA, leading communications across the Agency, Government, and Industry.

Mr. Weaver served as NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Communications from July 2010 until October 2016. As a senior professional with more than 25 years of experience in Government, politics, media relations, and public policy, he directed internal and external communications for the Agency. Under Mr. Weaver’s direction, the Office of Communications produced content for the NASA homepage, www.nasa.gov, and NASA Television as well as prepared and distributed print and broadcast news releases, brochures, and speeches for the NASA Administrator and Deputy Administrator. He and his Office were at the forefront of NASA’s visibility as they recorded mission activities and special events. Mr. Weaver and his team also organized media briefings, public ceremonies, and special exhibits, and oversaw the NASA speaker’s bureau, Public Inquiries Management Office, and visitor centers.


Photo of Dr. Richard Williams

Dr. Richard Williams

For distinguished, sustained leadership of NASA’s health care system, establishment of Health and Medical Technical Authority, and enhancement of Astronaut health care.

Dr. Williams served as NASA’s Chief Health and Medical Officer for 15 years, leading the NASA health care system to unprecedented levels of excellence. He established NASA’s medical quality assurance system, the Committee on Aerospace Medicine and Medicine of Extreme Environments dedicated to the challenges of human space flight, and integrated space medical operations and human research to unprecedented levels, resulting in a tighter focus on human research on space flight risk mitigation. He formed and implemented the incorporation of ethical and policy principles in risk decision making related to high-risk human space missions and established NASA’s Health and Medical Technical Authority, unique to NASA, along with Engineering and Safety and Mission Success technical authority, to provide critical and active support to human space flight and other programs.