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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    CONTACT: John Blacksten


    William H. Gerstenmaier to Receive the 2017 AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award

    Honored for His Leadership of America’s Human Spaceflight Program, Commitment to International Space Cooperation, and Inspiration of a New Generation of Space Explorers

    March 27, 2017– Reston, Va. – William H. Gerstenmaier, an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Honorary Fellow, and associate administrator for the human exploration and operations mission directorate at NASA, has won the 2017 AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award. Gerstenmaier will receive the award at the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala, May 3, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

    The award honors Gerstenmaier’s “leadership of America’s space flight program, commitment to international space cooperation, and inspiration of a new generation of space explorers.”

    “William H. Gerstenmaier, or Gerst to those of us who know him well, has dedicated his professional career to ensuring that our nation continues to have a dynamic, forward-looking, and robust space exploration program,” said Sandy Magnus, AIAA executive director. “His guidance and leadership has been instrumental in the success of the space shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programs as well as the continuing evolution of the role of the private sector in human spaceflight. AIAA thanks Gerst for all he has done for our nation’s space program and for NASA, and we salute him for truly dedicating his life to shaping the future of aerospace.”

    Gerstenmaier became NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations in 2005, directing the last 21 space shuttle missions and leading the development of the ISS. Since the end of the space shuttle program, he has supervised all of our nation’s efforts in space exploration, including operation of the ISS, development of the Space Launch System and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, improvement of civil space communications systems and establishment of commercial cargo and crew transportation systems for ISS support.

    Prior to becoming associate administrator for human exploration and operations, Gerstenmaier held numerous positions within NASA. From 2002 to 2005 he was the manager of the ISS program, before that he served as deputy manager of the program from 2000 to 2002. He has also served as the manager of the space shuttle Integration Program from 1998 to 2000. From 1995 to 1998, he served as the space shuttle/Mir Program operations manager. Gerstenmaier began his career at NASA in 1977 at the then NASA Lewis Research Center (now the John Glenn Research Center) in Cleveland, Ohio, as part of a team of researchers developing the calibration curves for air data probes used for space shuttle re-entry.

    Gerstenmaier’s numerous honors include the 2012 AIAA von Kármán Lectureship in Astronautics, the 2011 AIAA von Braun Award for Excellence in Space Program Management, the the 2010 Rotary National Space Trophy, a 2008 Purdue University Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, the 2007 Federation of Galaxy Explorers Space Leadership Award, the 2006 AIAA International Cooperation Award, a 2002 Aviation Week & Space Technology Laurels Award for Outstanding Achievement, a 2001 NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, a 1997 Rotary Stellar Award, and a 1996 Aviation Week & Space Technology Laurels Award for Outstanding Achievement.

    The Goddard Astronautics Award is the highest honor that AIAA bestows for notable achievements in the field of astronautics. It was endowed by Mrs. Goddard to commemorate her husband, Robert H. Goddard – rocket visionary, pioneer, bold experimentalist, and superb engineer, whose early liquid rocket engine launches set the stage for the development of astronautics.

    For more information on the Goddard Astronautics Award, or the AIAA Honors and Awards program, please contact Carol Stewart at 703.264.7538 or


    About AIAA
    A AIAA is the world’s largest aerospace professional society, serving a diverse range of more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and nearly 100 corporate members. AIAA members help make the world safer, more connected, more accessible, and more prosperous. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191-5807
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551