NASA AND THE SPIRIT OF INSPIRATIONAugust 04, 2015 | in News
Author: Edward Goldstein —
Our AIA staff comes to the association from a variety of backgrounds. Five of us are fortunate enough to have ties to the space program. Frank Slazer, our Vice President for Space Systems has worked as an engineer and business development lead on various space activities, including the International Space Station, for nearly 30 years. Ashley Bandar, AIA’s Director for Space Systems, previously worked in Government Relations for United Space Alliance, the company that operated the Space Shuttle for NASA. Kristen Moore, AIA’s Director for Legislative Affairs, had responsibilities for space issues as a legislative assistant to Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.). Keith Mordoff, AIA’s Assistant Vice President for Communications started his career at Lockheed as the chief spokesman for the Hubble Space Telescope Program. And I was the lead writer at NASA Headquarters, helping two Administrators craft their public messages.
Whenever there’s a major space activity on the horizon AIA’s space and communications team works hard to highlight the role of our member companies in advancing America’s progress in space. And we also engage with the broader aerospace community. One of my favorite NASA people, Headquarters Photographer Bill Ingalls, was our guest speaker at last year’s AIA Communications Council meeting. Even if you don’t know Bill, you probably know his fantastic work. For over 25 years, Bill has gone the extra mile to take memorable and dramatic photographs of NASA’s people—its astronauts, leaders, scientists, engineers—the space agencies’ launches and landings, and of the celestial objects that beckon us to explore. Bill’s latest awe inspiring work, a composite image made from nine frames shows the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, as it transited the moon at roughly five miles per second.
Bill was also present in the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) mission control room for NASA’s latest triumph, the New Horizons encounter with Pluto, and captured the emotion of the team that had devoted their careers the past nine years to the success of the mission.
As part of the program that night for those fortunate enough to attend the New Horizons encounter at APL, host Suzanne Malveaux of CNN presented part of my NASA 2006 interview with Venetia Burney Phair, the Englishwoman who in 1930 as an 11 year old school girl, suggested the name Pluto for the newly discovered planetary body.
At its heart, NASA is an organization that allows people to go places that have never been visited before, and to see astounding things that have never been seen before. We owe a great deal of appreciation to the people of NASA, everyone from its astronauts to photographers like Bill Ingalls, for allowing us to never lose the wonder we felt as children looking at the broad expanse of the night sky.