1996 EVENT TRANSCRIPT
RNASA Foundation 10th Annual Awards Banquet
February 15, 1996
Houston Hyatt Regency, Houston, Texas
Charles Hartman, Chairman of RNASA Foundation, asked Father John DeForke to lead the invocation. He noted the passing of one of the founders of the RNASA Foundation, General Hal Neely (see program book page 19).
It has become a tradition for Jim Hartz (see program book biography), who has been the Master of Ceremonies every year, to tell (Texas A&M University) Aggie jokes during his opening remarks. This year was no exception. One of the best was:
"There was a wonderful football player at College Station, Bubba. Six years and he still couldn't graduate. Finally at the graduation ceremony the president had lost control and everybody was chanting, 'Give Bubba a chance, give Bubba a chance.'So the president relented and he said, 'All right. Bubba, stand up. If you answer one question, I'll give you your diploma. What is 8 times 8?'Bubba thought about that for a long time. Finally he said, "64."And the whole crowd yelled, 'Give Bubba another chance!' "
Jim Hartz introduced Congressman Robert Walker (see program book biography), who was the main speaker for the evening.
Robert Walker: " Some of you know I come from the Pennsylvania Dutch country. Those of you who know something about the Pennsylvania Dutch country know that some of the leads in high technology in the Dutch country is new grease in the wagon wheels. But as I look out across at this prestigious audience tonight, I am reminded of a Pennsylvania Dutch story of a farmer who entered his mule in the Kentucky Derby. He was asked if he thought the mule could win against thoroughbreds. He said, "No, but I think the association will do him a lot of good." I am glad to be here with you this evening, and be associated with you. ...
"Rotary International celebrates the 91st anniversary of its founding on Feb. 23, 1905. Also this week, it's been 34 years since John Glenn first orbited the Earth, on Feb. 20, 1962. What do these 2 anniversaries have to do with one another? Not much. Except that both anniversaries commemorate events which changed our history. ...To most people, the week went by as if nothing happened. But something did happen, and what happened mattered. Think about the founding of Rotary. Paul Harris probably woke up in Chicago in 1905, thinking it was just an ordinary day. He went to work and had a meeting with three of his friends. He decided to form something of a fellowship, a way of making the public city of Chicago a little bit smaller and more friendly... But think of the consequences of that ordinary day. Rotary International has touched millions of people throughout the world by putting service above self. Just imagine that, because Paul Harris had that meeting in Chicago 91 years ago, the world has become a much better place. I say that February 23 is a good day to keep on all of our calendars.
"Thirty-four years ago, no one would say that John Glenn woke up thinking that his would be an ordinary day. Following Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom and a short line of canines and chimpanzees before him, he strapped himself into Friendship 7, sitting high atop a huge rocket. But what happened, as well as what didn't happen that day, mattered to all of us. It mattered that John Glenn orbited the Earth that day. It also mattered that America got to the Moon first. It confirmed our belief in an America that made things and took risks, and Americans who reached up to the stars and touched them. The old Soviet Union abandoned their lunar program shortly after Neil Armstrong planted Old Glory in the billion year old dust, and planted the seeds of political changes that we've only now begun to see. How many would have predicted the enormous changes that have occurred of the last ten years? The Soviet Union, our cold war adversary, is no more. Russia's left, and we are now working in partnership, building on each other's successes, as we build the international space station.
"Ten years ago, less than 3 million people used personal computers at home, that number is 10 million today. A decade ago, only a few people had them on their desks at work. Today, personal computers are replacing the mainframe computing capacity in the United States. There are PCs on the desks of 90% of all the desks, and 40% of people's homes. We sell, in this world today, 50,000 computers every 10 hours.
"Ten years ago, no one had heard of the net. A mosaic was a bunch of tiles glued together. Today mosaic is freeware used to browse millions of documents and publications and diverse services being posted by the world's fastest growing community - the world wide web. Today, we can't imagine all the consequences and implications of the unfettered, unregulated instantaneous free-flowing, open-line data information networks that we're creating. These networks have yet to completely transform education and entertainment, but they will. They have yet to totally transform the political system to be more democratic and accountable, but they will. ... We have yet to realize the enormous advance of satellite networks that will usher in this next era of the space station that will dwarf even the Apollo era, but we will. When we speak of the third wave, this is what we're talking about. And we have just begun to see the swell rising over the horizon of everyday life. We will soon see a transformation in the way we build, work, and play. The rising tide of this change, this third wave, has only begun to splash to shore. We are only seeing the beginning.
"In the midst of such turmoil, we are seeking a greater sense of stability. Like Paul Harris in Chicago 91 years ago, Americans feel the need to connect with people. We are trying to make our world smaller and friendlier, at the same time as our intellectual boundaries, our communities, and our personal abilities, are expanding faster and further than ever before. This is a time of unprecedented freedom and opportunity, of endless vision, of true power. From this vantage point, there is nothing we can't do, either as a nation, or as a civilization.
"The theory of another planetary system, much like our own, existing someplace in a nearby galaxy, is only an instant away from being established as a fact. Think about the impact this fact will have on our society, on the generation of school children. ... When children and grandchildren begin solving the equations and building a spaceship to go there. ... Think about it. For every child, every day could be like the day John Glenn had 34 years ago. Every day can be a day of discovery, every day can be filled with the thrill of taking on the universe. Yet believe it or not, for some people, this is a time to be feared: too loose, too disorganized, too out of control.
"... Shunning the individualism which has emerged in this era of freedom and technology, some have taken up the call of regulation with renewed vigor. Free market entrepeneurship accepted as the way of the future for all of the Earth, except for perhaps in America. In Washington, we are in the throes of rebalancing the equation between government power and individual power. Between the power of politics and the power of economics. The argument on one side is that in order for government to cope with monumental changes of this era, government has to be bigger. While the other side is building a bridge to the future. The governmentalists will be better off taking a page from NASA here in Houston, which last year replaced its large centralized Mission Control computing facility with a state of the art decentralized networking system. Using mostly off-the-shelf components and commercial software products, John Muratore's team made the new Mission Control Center more flexible, easier to use, while costing tens of millions of dollars less than estimated under the old way of doing things. Because they went out of the government mold to reduce the cost of major components by 50%... the operating costs for Mission Control Center Houston, for both the shuttle and international space station, will be 33% lower than flying the shuttle Mission Control Center alone.
"... Society is becoming more and more like the Internet: decentralized, individual, and more efficient. The future is placing faith in the individual rather than in complex, rigid institutions. The building blocks for a stronger economy don't have to be turned in at night or checked at the door. We're taking it home in our Power Points or just in our heads. The futurists are proud of a NASA that embraces this new era, as Administrator Dan Goldin, who received the Rotary National Space Trophy last year, has taken NASA into this new uncertain period with the kind of leadership and courage that has simply been required by our times. ... Next year, or possibly this year, the shuttle program will be shifted to a single prime contract. The end goal, stated by Dan Goldin and passed by the House of Representatives, is to move as quickly as possible to privatized system. We fully expect the shuttle will be under federal contract until the space station is built and lived out its ten year life.
"I have been working with the Senate on developing a space policy bill reflecting the respective NASA authorization bills that have passed the two chambers. The reason why those of you who sit here tonight will be so pleased with this particular bill, is that one of its provisions, fully authorizes the space station to completion of the system. Unfortunately, through the self interest of a few contractors, the bill is in a very vicarious position in the Senate. Instead of planning for a privatized shuttle 16 years from now, a handful of contractors are after guarantees that they can feed at the government trough into perpetuity. They fail to comprehend the potential of the 21st Century ... By embracing commercial opportunities instead of tax-payer subsidies, we can insure the United States will thrive in the space race of the next century.
"The shuttle program is at a point, operationally and technically, where economic pressures and incentives rather than the tradition of top-down management could actually improve the safety of the shuttle, not hurt it. ... It takes a million signatures to prepare to launch a shuttle. The problem is that every time something goes wrong, we find out that all the paperwork is in order, signed and executed by the book. For example, a shuttle solid booster came back after a successful launch and the inspector found a workman's wrench lodged between the aft skirt and the booster ?bell. How did it get there? The paperwork said that all tools used to make repairs were returned to their repair kits. So, to the government, on paper, the problem could not have occurred. But it did. ... Leading area businesses have been ahead of government in realizing that inspecting the inspectors and correcting the defectors is a waste of human intelligence and ignores individual responsibility. Ford, Xerox, and others are building quality into their products and eliminating the inspection loop, trusting their people, and shedding layers of management. NASA has begun to recognize this trend, and I give them credit for being the first agency in government to follow society into this new era of decentralized networks and individual responsibility. If NASA falters in this quest, it will lose the momentum of public support that has carried us since the Apollo era. ... The agency needs to harvest the brainpower it has by decentralizing the management, and putting its people back in the driver's seat.
"Last year, in movie theaters everywhere, we captured a glimpse of the NASA that relied on individual initiative and teamwork to save the crew of Apollo 13. At Mission Control Earth, we are fighting to turn back the control of the ship to individual lives, like no-nonsense, failure-is-not-an-option Eugene Kranz, NASA's legendary flight director, when all systems fail, and they did, Gene Kranz led his team through the crisis by demanding that everyone give their best, by demanding that each person think on their feet, and discard the ... procedures that were no longer valid.
"Everywhere you look today, people in private companies are light years ahead of their government and they are meeting the future with courage and curiosity. Take for example the recent restructuring of the aerospace industry. In some cases, mergers are creating corporate structures that never were before possible. Further, they are discovering new ways to create wealth and reduce waste simply by changing the way they think. Mergers were able to multiply the effectiveness of decentralization. In other words, getting bigger, is helping the companies to act smaller. Acting smaller, is helping companies get bigger. While that trend is vertical, mega-mergers share a central focus with America's smaller companies, on a culture that places a priority on high quality products and people and only that strategy works in a highly competitive, global economy.
"There are several lessons here for our federal government. First, for government to see that it cannot operate one way while society operates another. We have corporations that have established several operating units, duplicating overhead and wasting profit potential just to sell to the government. Think of the waste the government purchasing rules have created. Think of the hottest most exciting technology that is coming out of new entrepreneurial work, the federal government cannot even touch this technology. Why? Because the companies that have developed and marketed this technology have little or no desire to sell to the government. They don't need to, and they don't want to deal with federal government complex and expensive regulations, and they don't need intellectual property headaches that inherently come with selling to the federal government.
"Second, the government does not compete with the private economy. The government is building satellite systems from scratch on cost-plus contracts when it could buy most major components off the shelf from established suppliers thereby saving millions of taxpayer dollars which could be used to explore new worlds ....
"A person who dies before the end of this century, will know that democracy triumphed over tyranny; that most free people on the Earth gathered in the land called America built a nation that became the most powerful on Earth, and then, unlike any empire before, used its power to liberate our fellow man. A person who dies before the end of this century, will know that we won two world wars, ended fascism, defeated communism, and then raised all humanity hundreds of miles above itself by going to the Moon. To most people living today, that's a great record. Right now, the world is thanking Americans for the security and prosperity of the 20th century. But what about 10 years from now?
"What about the next century? What about those of us who plan to live longer than the millennium? Will it mean anything to say that America had a great record in the 20th century if the reality 10 years from now is that America turned inward, turned away from its destiny, and then turned its power on itself? It's up to us. It is our choice to take the our values with us on the journey ahead. Only we can insist on taking our freedom with us into the future. Only we can decide to take our decency with us in a press for a better tomorrow. Our choice can mean to build a bridge. ...
"Bob Crippen, the person chosen by Rotary for this year's National Space Trophy knows about making choices. His footprints are all over the bridge to the future. By choosing to honor space pioneers each year, Rotary International is recognizing the power that comes from individual acts. We are all raised above ourselves by honoring one who has set the higher mark. Like the discovery of a new planet around a distant star, each year, awards inspires us all to take new risks and seek greater opportunities. Their example makes us view each day a little more thoughtful, more productive, more responsible, and encourage us to reach out for, and reach up to, each other. ... Especially in this year of intensive change, each of us makes choices, and the choices we make matter.
"Bob Crippen's choices from flying in the Navy to flying the first space shuttle mission to managing Kennedy Space Center, impressed us and made us proud. When we name the heroes who made the opportunities of the next century possible, Crip's name should be on that list. ...
"February 20th is a great day. On that day in 1905, Rotary got started. February 23rd is a great day. On that day in 1962, John Glenn orbited the Earth. February 15, 1996, can be a great day, if you will decide that this is the day you will resolve to take a giant step into the future that holds so much potential for discovery and opportunity. Believe me, your choice will matter."
Chuck Jacobson (see program book biography), introduced the Stellar Award Winners, Jules McNeff and Dwight Woolhouse (see program book biographies).
Jules McNeff - I would like to thank Rotary, and specifically I would like to thank the RNASA Foundation here in Houston. I am honored to be here, and to be nominated and selected for this award. Many of you are familiar with the Global Positioning System either in your corporate business and NASA and the DoD. I know you know that I certainly am not responsible for the enormous success of this program that was in the process of being developed for the last 20 years. That honor goes to the thousands of people who devoted a lot of time and effort to making the program a success. ... Any one of you can go outside this building and start using GPS tonight. It's a very unique program. ... I am very proud to have had a small part to play in the success of such a revolutionary technology. Before I go, I'd like to thank one person specifically who did not only contribute what success I had at the program, and that's my wife Annie who gave me the strength and fortitude to persevere in all the legislative and political battles in Washington, and we'll keep it up.
Dwight Woolhouse - It has been my privilege over the years, to work with dedicated employees solving the problems involved with manned spaceflight, and I have been lucky to be able to work with them. I have never met or been involved with more dedicated people, and I consider it a privilege, and I consider this award to be a tribute to their skills as well as to mine. I add my thanks to Jules' to the Rotary, NASA, and Rockwell management, who made it possible for me to be here tonight. And I also thank Carolyn, without her support and understanding, I could not have made any of these contributions.
Jim Hartz listed letters of congratulations (compiled into an embossed folder and presented to Mr. Crippen) received from the following officials:
NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, Mayor Lanier of Houston, Mayor Hood of Orlando (where Crippen lives), Congressman McCollum of Florida, Senators Graham and Mack of Florida, Congressmen Stockman and DeLay of the Houston area, Congressman Walker, Senators Gramm and Hutchison of Texas, Governor Bush of Texas, Vice President Gore, and President Clinton, whose letter was read:
"Dear Bob:I am delighted to congratulate you as you receive the 1996 National Space Trophy from the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation.Your devoted service to America's space program over three decades has been a source of great pride for your colleagues and an inspiration to your fellow citizens. With your experience, skills, courage, and vision, you were instrumental in returning America to space in the wake of the Challenger tragedy. Our nation owes you a debt of gratitude for some of our finest achievements in aeronautics, and I salute you for your fierce commitment, your sense of duty, and your dedication to making the dream of space exploration a reality.Best wishes for continued success and every future happiness.Bill Clinton."
Richard Truly replaced Wayne Littles as presenter of the National Space Trophy. His biography is included in the press kit.
Richard Truly - ... "I had to stand in for Wayne Littles this evening. ... Jack Lister (RNASA Foundation Board Member) called me, and when he told me that Wayne couldn't be here, he said, with a little chuckle, "Dick, do I need to fax you a copy of Crip's bio for you to introduce him?" I said I didn't think it would be necessary, but it is in there (the program book), and I hope you will read it. A naval aviator, carrier jet pilot, experimental test pilot, MOL flight crew, NASA astronaut, the first person, with John Young when we put the space shuttle into space, and then commanded three more flights, director of the shuttle program, director of the Kennedy Space Center, and now a Vice President of Lockheed Martin. Highly decorated by NASA, by the US Navy, and the DoD, the recipient of many national trophies, a fellow in several professional societies. These are records that Crip brings, and you know them well, and you know him well. But that's not the reason that I came here from Atlanta to stand here.
"It's because I can remember the day more than 30 years ago that Crip and I first shook hands, and that professional association and that friendship has strengthened over the years. We obviously are fast friends. We have been head to head competitors and toe to toe. We've had 10,000 laughs, and a lot of beers, and we're good friends. I remember the day that Chuck Yeager got both of us into the space program. I watched Crip 's contributions to the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, and over the years, to the military space program which most people here don't appreciate. Someday those programs and Crip's contribution will be declassified and you will be as impressed by those as you are by the ones that you know about. Those days in MOL were important when junior officers became people like General Harries? General Abramson, General Skants? General Hart, and also Lamar Bowles, President of the space center Rotary club here, who was out there with us at that time.
"I sat with Crip in Deke's office back when MOL was canceled, and listened to Deke, bless his soul, the most honest man I've ever met, tell us that he didn't need us down here. That was one time that politics worked in our favor. NASA headquarters asked NASA to take the 7 youngest MOL pilots, and we came anyway. I sat with Mr. Crippen in hearings in front of (Congressman) Bob Walker after the Challenger accident, as we were doing our best to try and hold this program together. I stood with him in the depths of the Cold War, with the Apollo-Soyuz mission in Moscow in 1975, and I've stood with him in the oval office when President Reagan and later again with President Bush as he was recognized for work to try and get the program together. I watched him struggle with Skylab, help the people in this room struggle Skylab into the air, and once it was there, struggle to keep it there. I watched him design the cockpit, the shuttle CRT displays and write the requirements to write the shuttle software. I watched him work with the flight controllers in this room, the flight directors, the training and simulator people over the years that we were in Houston. I've been with Crip at fancy do-dahs like this one here tonight all over the nation, and in more countless joints than I can remember, having a beer with him after the work was done. I've flown on his wing, and he has flown on mine.
"Later I asked him to take his flying boots off and do what I thought was more important for the space program after the Challenger accident, and he took his boots off. I asked him to leave his beloved Florida at that time, and come to Washington. He left and came to DC. And this was probably not as hard - I asked him to leave Washington, and go back to Florida and be director of Kennedy Space Center, and he did it proudly and very well. Cody (Truly's wife) fished at his dad's pond when his dad was alive, and he and I sat at his mother's store out there in Porter, and I am delighted that your family is here (tonight). We have done a thousand other things together. Not once in these 30 plus years, in all these things (was there a time) when Crip put himself above what had to be done, and what needed to be done, like so many others in this room that created this great program.
"You have truly selected a great leader. He is a man of immense strength and immense ethics, and he really deserves this trophy from Rotary whose motto is service above self. Please welcome Robert L. Crippen, the recipient of this year's National Space Trophy."
Crippen received a standing ovation from more than 400 people in the audience.
Robert Crippen - "This is overwhelming. Thank goodness Dick didn't go over all the real stories he knows about me. I'd like to thank the Rotary. This is indeed an honor to receive this special trophy, to have my name included with the distinguished recipients who have received this in the past. People like Max Faget, people like Aaron Cohen. And it is especially rewarding, speaking of former recipients, to be receiving this award from a former recipient, former boss, and truly a great friend, Vice Admiral Richard Harrison Truly. He and I have been by each other's sides more years than we like to admit. I would also like to thank Congressman Walker for being here tonight. He is truly one of the great supporters that we've had in Washington for the space program, and his leadership will be sorely missed. (Walker is retiring.) I would also say that to have the opportunity to come back and receive this award in Houston is especially sweet. I consider Houston my home town. As many of you know, and as Dick indicated, I grew up in what would be considered a small suburb of Houston today. Then when I came back, of course I spent the better part of my career with NASA right here at Johnson Space Center.
"If I've learned anything in my life, it is that we don't accomplish things alone. We accomplish them with co-workers, with friends, and especially family. I am a very lucky man to have a large portion of my family here tonight. And because I would not have been able to accomplish any of the things that allow me to stand before you tonight without their support, if you will bear with me, I'd like to introduce them to you. (Introduced his sister, and two of his three daughters.)
"Truly when you do work like Dick and I have talked about, it takes a lot of people. I've never done anything by myself, I've done it as a member of a team. I've had the fortune to work with many great people. I put my life in their hands, and some of them put their lives in mine. Many of them are here tonight, and I wish I could recognize all of you, but thank you very much for attending this special event. I'm a very rich man, I've had the opportunity to do things I couldn't even dream of when I was a kid: been a naval aviator, an astronaut, worked in NASA management, now I am a member of the Lockheed Martin team. When I was looking back over my career, surely being an astronaut was a great thing, there is no better job. But when I think of the things that I am the most proud, it would have to be the work that we all did after the Challenger to get back flying again, to get it back flying safely, to correct the deficiencies that we found in hardware, software, management organization. And then, after we got it back to flying to try to get the cost down to where it was more reasonable to put people in space. That was one of the toughest undertakings I've ever participated in.
"I leave you with two thoughts tonight. First, to fall is not to fail. To fail is to fall and not try to get up and do it again. The second is that with the loss of the Challenger, we learned many hard lessons. Time tends to blur those lessons. They came by too hard and too expensive for us to forget."
Charles Hartman, Chairman of RNASA Foundation, presented a trophy of appreciation to Congressman Walker. He then recognized this year's artist, Maurice Lewis. He ended with his now traditional joke about the need for research into using propellers in space.
Summary complied by Marianne J. Dyson, 2-21-1996