Press Release

Rotary Gala Honors Unsung Heroes of Space

By SpaceRef Editor
March 16, 2014
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The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation will recognize the dedication of the space workers at their annual awards banquet on Friday, April 11, 2014, at the Houston Hyatt Regency.

When people think of achievements in space, they usually think of astronauts or they might picture spacecraft like the Mars Curiosity rover bravely exploring the unknown, but it is the dedication of the workers on Earth that make the astronaut’s historic deeds possible.

To publicly recognize all the “unsung heroes” of the space program alongside the more well-known achievers, the Rotary National Awards for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation was formed by the Space Center Rotary Club in 1985, and presents an American citizen with the National Space Trophy each year.

This year the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation will present its top award, the 2014 National Space Trophy (NST), to the Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Jr., NASA Administrator, retired Major General United States Marine Corps (Ret.) and former NASA astronaut, STS-61-C, STS-31, STS-45, and STS-60.

Col. Robert Cabana, Director of the Kennedy Space Center and former astronaut, STS-41, STS-53, STS-65 and STS-88, will present the 2014 Rotary National Award for Space Achievement to Bolden. Bolden was nominated by Cabana and Robert Jacobs, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Communications.

Former CNN correspondent John Zarrella will serve as the Master of Ceremonies; Veronica McGregor, the 2013 Space Communicator Award winner, and Manager of News and Social Media at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, will be presenting the 2014 Space Communicator Award to former Canadian Space Agency astronaut (STS-74, STS-100, and International Space Station mission Soyuz TMA-07M), author, and musician Chris A. Hadfield. Gemini/Apollo Astronaut Lt. Gen. Thomas Stafford, USAF (Ret.), will present an OMEGA watch to Bolden. David W. Thompson, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Orbital Sciences Corporation will be the Keynote Speaker.

The RNASA Foundation’s Board of Advisors selects the NST honoree each year and represents a Who’s Who of government and corporate aerospace leaders, including former Trophy and Space Communicator Award recipients.

The RNASA Stellar Awards Evaluation Panel selects the winners from nominations received from industry and government based on whose accomplishments hold the greatest promise for furthering activities in space and the extent to which the nominee meets the goal of recognizing “unsung heroes”. The 2014 judges are Dr. Glynn S. Lunney, Arnold D. Aldrich, and Gen. Kevin P. Chilton.

RNASA Chairman Rodolfo González said, “We received 51 government and 113 corporate nominations for awards this year.” The nominations came from Aerojet Rocketdyne, ARES, ATK, Barrios, Bastion Technologies, Boeing, Booz Allen Hamilton, Catholic University of America, DARPA, Draper, Jacobs, Keystone Engineering, L-3 Communications, L-3 STRATIS, Lockheed Martin, MEI Technologies, National Space Biomedical Research Institute, NASA Glenn Research Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Kennedy Space Center, NASA Langley Research Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA White Sands Test Facility, National Reconnaissance Office, Oceaneering Space Systems, Orbital Sciences Corporation, SpaceX, United Space Alliance, United States Air Force, United States Air Force Research Laboratory, and United Technologies Aerospace Systems.”

The Stellar Award nominees and team representatives will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of Johnson Space Center and a luncheon presentation by NASA Astronaut Dr. Stanley G. Love, STS-132. He flew on STS-122 Atlantis from February 7 to February 20, 2008, logging more than 306 hours in space, including more than 15 hours in two spacewalks.

The Stellar Award winners will receive engraved marble trophies generously sponsored by ATK. The trophies will be presented by Astronaut Dr. Karen LuJean Nyberg, STS-124, and Astronaut Col. (Ret.) Douglas G. Hurley, STS-127 and STS-135. Nyberg flew to the International Space Station (ISS) on STS-124 Discovery and became the 50th woman in space on her first mission. She also flew on Expedition 36/37. Hurley flew on STS-127 and was a pilot on STS-135, the final flight of the Space Shuttle program in July 2011. He has logged over 3,200 hours in more than 22 aircraft.

The Stellar Awards Committee Chairman Jennifer Devolites, RNASA Foundation Chairman Rodolfo Gonz‡lez, RNASA Committee NASA Liaison Duane Ross, and Space Center Rotary Club President Sheryl Berg will also address the nominees at the Stellar Awards luncheon. All nominees will be presented with framed certificates and will attend the evening gala when the winners are announced.

The reception begins at 6 p.m. with music by pianist Victoria Reva-Dorsch. The welcome by RNASA Chairman Rodolfo González is at 7 p.m., followed by presentation of the colors by the color guard from Clear Lake High School Army JROTC. The national anthem will be sung by the Love Antioch Brothers. Elder Daniel Jones, of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will do the invocation. After dinner, the awards ceremony will kick off with a multimedia show summarizing the year’s space events produced by Space City Films.

RNASA’s black-tie gala is open to the public. Individual tickets are $300, and corporate tables range from $2,000 to $5,000. To make reservations, visit


SpaceRef staff editor.