Press Release

White House Presents Presidential Design Awards: Mars Pathfinder

By SpaceRef Editor
December 20, 2000
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White House Presents Presidential Design Awards
 
U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) #9774 (revised)
 
Contacts:
Viki Reath
202/501-1231, [email protected]
Malcolm Saldanha
202/501-1231, [email protected]
 
Washington, D.C. — President and Mrs. Clinton today presented the quadrennial, Presidential Awards for Design Excellence to the following projects:
 
*U.S. Census Bureau National Data Processing Center, Bowie, Md.
*U.S. Port of Entry, Calexico, Calif.
*Grand Central Terminal, New York City
*Interstate 70, Glenwood Canyon, Colo.
*Mars Pathfinder Mission
*Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Washington, D.C.
*National Park Service Park Cultural Landscapes Program
*Westside MAX Light Rail, Portland, Ore.
*The Mayors’ Institute on City Design.
 
The awards, presented in a 10 a.m. ceremony at Constitution Hall, honor projects that represent the highest standards of Federal design in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning, historic preservation, interior design, engineering, graphic design and products and industrial design.
 
"I’d like to especially thank Bob Peck, the Commissioner of the Public Building Service, for his role in our doing better with the federal government’s construction," Pres. Clinton said.
 
In this year’s fifth quadrennial competition, four juries selected 35 projects to receive Federal Design Achievement Awards. A second jury, chaired by well-known architectural historian Vincent Scully, selected nine of these projects to also receive a Presidential Award for Design Excellence. The juries, comprised of 22 private-sector design experts, reviewed 338 submissions from 71 Federal agencies, representing work in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and 10 foreign countries.
 
The Federal Government, the nation’s largest user of design services and products and the responsible steward of public resources, is committed to providing taxpayers with the best designs available. The Presidential Design Awards, administered jointly by the U.S. General Services Administration and the National Endowment for the Arts, are the only governmentwide recognition of excellence in Federal design.
 
The Presidential Design Award recipients for 2000 were:
 
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Mars Pathfinder Mission
 
On July 1, 1997, after a hiatus of 20 years, the United States returned to Mars-and for the next three months people around the world watched and participated in the excitement as images and data were returned to Earth by the first-ever planetary rover.
 
The Pathfinder was one of the first two projects under NASA’s Discovery Program, a 1992 program distinguished by a strategy for low cost, short schedules, and focused scientific payloads to explore space frontiers. The Pathfinder Mission’s response to this strategy was to co-locate a small team to facilitate daily face-to-face communication and concurrent engineering. The team conceived a unique design that used direct entry into the Mars atmosphere, slowed by parachutes and simple solid-propellant rockets, and cushioned by airbags, to land a small station and a small rover on a preplanned site of very rocky but geologically interesting terrain.
 
Beyond achieving mission objectives by the spectacular demonstration of functional performance, the mission exemplifies NASA’s new philosophy of lower-cost planetary exploration without sacrificing design quality. By focusing its design objectives, the mission was accomplished at less than one-tenth the cost of the previous mission to Mars 20 years earlier.
 
Jury Comment
 
The project’s multidisciplinary, concurrent engineering appears to be a great improvement over the compartmentalized, sequential fashion of the past. The direct entry, descent, and landing sequence were unique and innovative. The low-cost is a result for other scientific programs to emulate.
 
Credits
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Office for Space Science for the Mars Pathfinder Mission and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
 
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SpaceRef staff editor.