2019 Goddard Memorial Dinner
Honors Former NASA Administrator
Excellence is said to be its own reward. But within the scientific community, recognition by peers is an honor unto itself. For those reasons, The Miller Engineering and Research Corporation (MERC) was proud to send representatives to attend the 62nd Annual Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner which took place March 22nd in Washington, D.C.
Nearly 2,000 members of the space industry, the educational space community, and the government annually attend this prestigious event. The premier award of the evening is the Goddard Trophy. It is so named after Dr. Robert H. Goddard, who is considered the father of modern rocket propulsion. It is presented by the National Space Club and Foundation (NSCF) to an individual, group or program deemed to have made the most significant contribution to space activity in the previous year.
Candidates for the Goddard Trophy are nominated by members of the NSCF Goddard Trophy Selection Committee, who then vote by secret ballot to select the winner of the trophy.
The recipient of the trophy was Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. in recognition of his exceptional service to this country and its space program. He retired last April as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Acting Administrator after a career at NASA that spanned 30 years.
Among his accomplishments were the leading of a seamless engagement between NASA and the White House in setting up the first National Space Council in 25 years, and in the development of Space Policy Directive-1 outlining a Moon-to-Mars focus.
Other honorees at the 62nd Annual Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner included:
- Morgan Kopecky, a senior at Woodbridge High School, a competitive public school in Irvine, CA, was the recipient of the Goddard Memorial Dinner Keynote Scholarship.
- Delta II Program Team received the Nelson P. Jackson Award.
- Claire Porter, Remote Sensing Lead and Co-Investigator at the Polar Geospatial Center, University of Minnesota, was the recipient of the NOAA David Johnson Award.
- Kirk Shireman, Manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson Space Center, received the Astronautics Engineer Award.
- Koki Machin, Chief Engineer, Orion Parachute System, NASA, received the Eagle Manned Mission Award.
- Irene Klotz, Space Editor, Aviation Week & Space Technology, received the Press Award.
- Colonel Timothy J. Lincoln, United States Air Force, received the Dr. Joseph V. Charyk Award.
- Andrew Fraknoi, Professor and Emeritus Chair, Astronomy Department, Fromm Institute, University of San Francisco and Emeritus, Foothill College, received the Space Educator Award.
- Jacob Blocker, a student at Oswego High School, Oswego, IL, was the winner of the Olin E. Teague Scholarship.
Full details about each honoree and award at the 62nd Annual Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner are available from the spaceclub.org website.
Guest at the MERC Table
We would also like to thank the people who contributed to an evening of stimulating conversation at the MERC table that evening:
- Doug & Janet Barth – Janet is former Division Chief Code 560 Goddard Space Flight Center. She is Chair, Radiation Effects Steering Group for IEEE and a MERC Aerospace Board Member.
- Jay Bookbinder – Jay is Sr. Scientist Ames Research Center California. He was a Co-Investigator on several NASA instruments including Solar Probe Plus Mission’s Solar Wind M, Alphas and Protons (SWEAP) instrument suite, the IRIS SMEX telescope, the SDO/ AIA instrument, and the Hinode/X-Ray Telescope.
- Dave W. & Judy Sohl – Dave is former Ocean Color Instrument Manager for NASA Goddard – Retired. He is Program Manager for MERC Aerospace.
- Lauren Kessler – Lauren is Distinguished Member of Technical Staff/Group Lead – Resilience and Fault Tolerance at Draper Laboratory.
- Dan Brophy – Dan is the Vice President of the US. Government Services at Capella Space.
- John Marinaro – John is Vice President of Federal Civilian Division for KeyLogic. He was formerly Director, Safety Engineering Technical Excellence, and Aerospace Consultant at NASA.