AIAA Congratulates John M. Grunsfeld On Being Selected as the Winner of the 2017 National Space Trophy
February 6, 2017 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) congratulates AIAA Senior Member John M. Grunsfeld, retired astronaut, and former associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., on his selection as the winner of the 2017 National Space Trophy from the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation. Grunsfeld will receive the award on April 28 at a black-tie dinner at the Houston Hyatt Regency, in Houston, Texas.
The award honors Grunsfeld’s abilities to “demonstrate the relevance and excitement of spaceflight by bringing together the scientific community, NASA’s international partners, Congress, and the administration, with NASA’s Science, Human Spaceflight, Technology and Aeronautics programs.” It also honors his “unique experience as an astronaut, a teacher, scientist and senior leader at NASA” that “has enabled him to make unique contributions to all of NASA’s activities.”
“John Grunsfeld has done much throughout his career to expand human knowledge of the universe we inhabit,” said Sandy Magnus, AIAA executive director. “His work with the Hubble Space Telescope and his contributions to the James Webb Space Telescope have helped us see the universe more clearly than was ever possible before. His passion for education, exploration and innovation is inspiring. AIAA congratulates him on this well-deserved honor.”
Selected to be a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1992, Grunsfeld flew on five space shuttle missions during his career: STS-67 in 1995; STS-81 in 1997; STS-103 in 1999; STS-109 in 2002; and STS-125 in 2009. During his return flight to Earth during the STS-81 mission, Grunsfeld became famous for calling up NPR’s “Car Talk” radio show, pretending to complain about the odd behavior of the engine on his “government vehicle.” From 1999 to 2002, Grunsfeld led NASA’s Extravehicular Activity Branch where he oversaw the development of spacewalk training courses for astronauts. As most of Grunsfeld’s missions were to the Hubble Space Telescope, his fellow astronauts dubbed Grunsfeld the “Hubble Repairman.” During his career as an astronaut Grunsfeld made eight spacewalks and spent over 58 days in space. In 2010, Grunsfeld left NASA to become deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, where he worked with NASA on the joint development of the James Webb Space Telescope, slated for launch in 2018. Grunsfeld returned to NASA in 2012 as the associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate, and managed over 100 missions including the Curiosity Mars rover landing, the New Horizons Pluto flyby, and the deployment of the Deep Space Climate Observatory. Grunsfeld retired from NASA on April 30, 2016.
Grunsfeld’s other honors include four NASA Space Flight Medals, three NASA Exceptional Service Medals and one NASA Distinguished Service Medal. He is also an avid mountaineer who has summited Mount Denali, North America’s highest peak.