Daniel S. Goldin

Dan Goldin.
Daniel Goldin

For the list of speakers at the event, please see the 1995 Agenda. See the 1995 Press information.

Profile by Marianne J. Dyson, published in the RNASA Program Book, February 16, 1995

NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin is the recipient of the 1995 Rotary National Award for Space Achievement. Mr. Goldin was selected for this honor for his passionate leadership and fiscally responsible management of the best space program in the world.

A native of New York City, Mr. Goldin received his degree in mechanical engineering in 1962 from the City College of New York. He began his professional career that same year as a research scientist at NASA's Lewis Research Center in Cleveland.

After five years, Mr. Goldin moved to California to work for TRW. During 25 years with TRW, he successfully managed the development and production of advanced spacecraft, technologies, and space science instruments, and rose to the position of Vice President and General Manager of the TRW Space & Technology Group in Redondo Beach, California.

Mr. Goldin became the ninth NASA Administrator in April 1992. His first initiative was to bring NASA's budget under control. He created a series of management teams to find ways to operate programs 'faster, better, and cheaper' without compromising safety.

Mr. Goldin described his first budget submittal a Administrator as, "a fiscal declaration of independence from the old ways of doing business." By April 1993, NASA's five-year spending plan had been reduced by $15 billion, the equivalent of saving an entire year's funding. "It simply was not feasible for us to continue spending at the rate we were going," Goldin said at the time.

To make the Agency more businesslike, Mr. Goldin launched a series of procurement and management reforms. He simplified and expedited procedures for awarding contracts, instituted a "yellow light" system for programs experiencing cost overruns, expanded contracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses, and set up independent panels to insure cost and schedule estimates are as accurate as possible.

Under Goldin, the Discovery Program, whose goal is to reduce planetary probe development times to less than three years, and mission costs to less than $150 million, as inaugurated. This is a marked departure for NASA whose planetary programs normally require at least a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars.

In 1993, the Space Station program was approved by a one-vote margin in the House of Representatives. Mr. Goldin had already been asked to redesign Space Station Freedom to significantly cut costs without sacrificing meaningful capabilities. He formed a team which worked intensively to identify a series of less expensive options. Overall, Goldin's team cut the life cycle costs by $15 billion.

In a statement to the House in April 1994, Goldin said, "I am pleased to report to you that we are just where we should be on the Space Station. We have struck with our plan, met our target dates. The bottom line? The Space Station is right on track."

A few months later, with the improved design and the addition of Russia as a full partner, the project passed by a 123-vote margin, one of the most remarkable political turnarounds in recent memory. The Shuttle/Mir Space Station precursor missions begin this spring.

Goldin also put in place a series of internal review teams to exhaustively prepare for the Space Shuttle mission in December 1993 to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The repair work was a brilliant success. Within a few months in the Spring of 1994, the telescope provided the most convincing evidence yet of the existence of black holes and the formation of planets around distant stars.

For these accomplishments and his visionary leadership, the Board of Advisors of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation is proud to present the 1995 National Space Trophy to Daniel S. Goldin.

Return to the top