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Clear Lake Chatter: A happy farewell for NASA chief

June 1st, 2018

JSC Director Ellen Ochoa presents the National Space Trophy to now retired Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot during the RNASA Gala. RNASA photo

NATIONAL SPACE Trophy winner Robert Lightfoot ended his long NASA career on a perfect note with some 800 admirers giving him a grand sendoff at the RNASA Space Gala. Besides retiring from the space agency, Johnson Space Center Director Dr. Ellen Ochoa presented him with a beautiful trophy for his mantel.

“The many leadership roles that Robert Lightfoot has held and excelled at over his entire aerospace career made him the ideal person to lead NASA during the last 15 months,” she said as she handed him the prestigious trophy.

The former acting NASA administrator looked upon it as “the pinnacle of recognition in our business. This is the biggest award you could bestow on me, but really it is for the entire team and what we do. And, what we do every day makes a difference.”

After the welcome by RNASA Foundation Chairman Rodolfo Gonzalez, other highlights included the presentation by NASA’s Cindy Steele of the Space Communicator Award by video to actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame, a video congratulatory message to Lightfoot from NASA astronauts Scott Tingle, Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold on the Space Station, a Space City Films year-in-review film featuring CNN’s John Zarrella and the presentation by astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson of the Stellar Awards to 29 individuals and 8 teams,

RNASA Chairman Rodolfo Gonzalez and his wife, Anangela, wear big smiles as they look over the massive crowd at the 2018 space gala.

Looking around the Hyatt Regency Ballroom, you might have spotted former NASA Administrators Michael Griffin and and Gen. Charles Bolden; Glenn Research Center Director Dr. Janet Kavandi, acting NASA Associate Administrator Stephen Jurcyk, retired Johnson Space Center Director Mike Coats, and three other former Space Trophy winners — Eileen Collins, Glynn Lunney and Tommy Holloway taking their seats.

The guest list read like a Who’s Who in the space industry and included JSC Deputy Director Mark Geyer, Associate Director Dr. George Nield, Space Station Program Manager Kirk Shireman, External Relations Director Deborah Conder, Safety Director Terry Wilcutt, Flight Operations Director Brian K. Kelly, Deputy CFO Sidney Schmidt and NASA Orion Program Manager Mark Kirasich – many with their spouses.

Other space luminaries included a number of astronauts such as Chief Astronaut Patrick Forrester and Mark Polansky, along with former astronauts — Texas A&M at Galveston COO Michael Fossum and Orbital ATK Systems Group President Frank Culbertson and Gen. Tom Stafford.

Boeing’s Houston Site Leader and ISS Program Manager Mark Mulqueen was in the crowd, as were Barrios Technologies Chairman Sandy Johnson and President Robert McAfoos, Jacobs Vice President Lon Miller, Blue Orgin President Rob Meyerson, KBR Wyle Senior VP Dr. Vernon McDonald and VP Genie Bopp, MEI Technologies CEO David Cates and Alpha Space Test President Mark Gittleman.

Plus, Bastion biggies Mike and Jorge Hernandez and COO Jay Ramakrishnan, UTC Aerospace Leader Allen Flynt, SAIC Vice President Charlie Stegemoeller, Lockheed Martin Orion Deputy Director Larry Price, MRI President and VP Debbie and Tim Kropp, Axiom Space President Mike Suffredini, ERC Partner Darryl Smith and Sierra Nevada Corp. Vice President Mark Sirangelo.

RNASA Foundation and Rotarians in the mix included RNASA Vice President Bill Taylor, John Branch, Bob Wren, Delia Stephens, Geoff Atwater, Frank Perez, Rich Jackson, Randy Straach, Mark Hollis, Duane Ross, Steve Oglesbee, Gary Johnson and their spouses.

Museum Guild members Louise Russell, Jan Larson, Belinda Scheurich and Ava Galt, from left, who put in many hours working on the annual Silver Tea, wear big smiles as the crowd begins arriving at the museum in Clear Lake Park.

Silver Tea honors Brandie Corrao
BAY AREA MUSEUM was nearly overflowing Sunday, May 6 as the Museum Guild hosted the 33rd annual Silver Tea, which was founded in 1985 so local families could come together to experience a favorite British custom.

Many cooked their favorite sweets and savories to share with the crowd, which included the Lunar Rendezvous princesses and lieutenants and their mothers, along with Museum Guild members and their families.

Silver Tea Chairman Terri Monette was at the door to introduce the arriving crowd to this year’s honoree, Brandie Corrao, who was selected for her dedication to the museum. Nearby, you might have spotted Peggy Clause and Sandi Allbritton were busy complimenting Marjy Fulton on the beautiful tea cups she has made annually for the guild to sell at the tea.

In no time, the museum began to fill with Matthew and Angie Weinman and Joy and Charles Smitherman in the arriving crowd, along with Emmeline Dodd and Gene Hollier, Annette Dwyer and her husband, Pat Monks, Mary Williams, Diana Dornak, Adrienne Sun, Mary Ann Baxter and Laura Sukkar.

Some of the others out enjoying the afternoon included Museum Guild Co-Presidents Ava Galt and Carole Murphy, Jill Smitherman, Jill Williams Lammers, Barb Spencer, Cindy Kuenneke, Louise Russell, Gayle Nelson, Marcy Fryday, Sally Jordan and Jan Larson.

Houston Symphony League Bay Area officers for 2018 will include, from left, Historian Pat Biddle, President Nina McGlashan, Parliamentarian Lisa Clobanu and Corresponding Secretary Jean Raffetto. They were installed May 9 at their Bay Oaks Country Club luncheon. Recording Secretary Gayle Nelson and Nomination Chairman Mary Voigt are absent from the picture.

Symphony League elects new officers
NINA McGLASHAN is the new president of the Houston Symphony League Bay Area, which enjoys bringing beautiful music to the community and focuses on music education for elementary students in the Clear Creek School District.

She’ll have six vice presidents lending a hand during the coming year — Carole Murphy, finance; Jim Moore, education; Patience Myers, development; Martha McWilliams, programs; Ann Morgan, membership; and President-elect Vicki Buxton.

Other officers will be Recording Secretary Gayle Nelson, Corresponding Secretary Jean Raffetto, Historian Pat Biddle, Nomination Chairman Mary Voigt and Parliamentarian Lisa Clobanu. They were installed May 9 at their Bay Oaks Country Club luncheon.

DAR Chapter picks officers for 2018-20
THE SAM HOUSTON Chapter of the Houston National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution also introduced new officers when members met on May 5 at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake.

New officers for 2018-2020 are Regent Beth Sears, 1st Vice Regent Sarah Adams, 2nd Vice Regent Rita Ash, Chaplain Susie Ganch, Recording Secretary Becky Miles, Corresponding Secretary Ann Caywood, Treasurer Kati Hill, Registrar Lara Phillips, Historian Julie McRee and Librarian Fran Bodden.

Texas State Regent-Elect Susan Greene Tillman discussed the theme, “Are You Letting Your Light Shine?” Her speech focused on the many ways all DAR members can become involved in DAR, no matter their interests, talents and strengths. DAR is an organization that provides countless community service in projects helping veterans, libraries and schools.

Robert Lightfoot honored at RNASA Foundation Space Gala

May 9th, 2018

Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa presents the National Space Trophy to Robert Lightfoot, recently retired acting NASA administrator. RNASA photo

The Rotary National Award for Space Achievement (RNASA) Foundation presented the 2018 National Space Trophy to Robert Lightfoot, NASA’s former acting administrator at its 32nd annual black-tie Space Awards Gala on April 27, 2018 at the Houston Hyatt Regency.

RNASA Foundation Chairman Rodolfo González welcomed the guests to gala, saying that RNASA’s mission is to encourage, recognize, honor and celebrate U.S. space achievements from across the entire country and across all sectors.” The Clear Brook High School JROTC Color Guard presented the colors, followed by Thomas Glass, first year baritone from Houston Grand Opera, who sang the National Anthem a cappella.

Reverend Michael Stone, St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church, gave the invocation.

After dinner, the program kicked off with a year-in-review film by Space City Films. John Zarrella, former CNN correspondent served as the emcee. “We are here tonight” he said, “in no small part to acknowledge the accomplishments of men and women behind the scenes. Tonight, we will honor many individuals who have made outstanding contributions to our space program.

Cindy Steele, NASA Public and Stakeholder Engagement Division chief, presented the 2018 Space Communicator Award to actor William Shatner, best known for his role as Capt. James Kirk of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise, saying that “as a lifelong advocate of science and exploration, Mr. Shatner has inspired generations of young explorers.” Shatner accepted the honor via video, saying “the concept of space travel and exploration is one of great mysteries we humans can ponder. Space is the greatest mystery story of all.

Stellar Awards were presented to 29 individuals and 8 teams. The Stellar Award winners were announced by NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson, who then presented them with engraved marble trophies donated by Orbital ATK. The Stellar Awards were presented in Early Career, Mid-Career, Late Career and Team categories.

NASA astronauts Scott Tingle, Drew Feustel, and Ricky Arnold sent a congratulatory message down from the International Space Station to Lightfoot on receiving the National Space Trophy, telling him “we wouldn’t be on this amazing laboratory in space today if it hadn’t been for your complete dedication to our mission and for your effectiveness in the many roles you held over your career. Our community thrives because of your commitment to safety and mission success. Robert, congratulations on this prestigious and well-deserved honor.

Ellen Ochoa, director of the Johnson Space Center, presented the prestigious 2018 National Space Trophy to Robert Lightfoot. In her introductory comments, Dr. Ochoa said “The many leadership roles that Robert Lightfoot has held and excelled at over his entire aerospace career made him the ideal person to lead NASA during the last 15 months.” While accepting the NST, Lightfoot said “…I really feel like I’ve been honored with the pinnacle of recognition in our business. This is the biggest award you could bestow on me, but really it is for this entire team and what we do. What we do every day makes a difference.

Lt. Gen Thomas P. Stafford, USAF (Ret.), Gemini and Apollo astronaut, and the 1993 National Space Trophy winner, presented an Omega speedmaster watch to Lightfoot, saying “The National Space Trophy is very well deserved. I followed you your whole career; it has been superb.”
Engility donated the portrait of Lightfoot by Pat Rawlings, which was on display at the gala and used as the cover of the souvenir program. The portrait will become part of the National Space Trophy display at Space Center Houston for one year.