2001 NATIONAL SPACE TROPHY RECIPIENT
Tommy HollowayFor speakers from the banquet event, see 2001 Agenda.
Profile as published in the March 2, 2001 program book. Author unknown.
Throughout his long and distinguished career. Tommy W. Holloway has made major contributions to human space flight. A veteran engineer, an expert in flight activities and planning and a senior NASA manager, he has left his mark on the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs.
As manager of the International Space Station Program, Mr. Holloway is leading the most complex engineering and scientific space project ever attempted. He directs all aspects of the International Space Station design, development, test and operations. Mr. Holloway manages an annual budget of $2.3 billion, leads the activities of a multidisciplinary workforce of about 20,000 civil servants and contractor personnel across the United States and coordinates the activities of NASA's 16 International Partners.
His responsibilities include the integration and delivery of elements that will use six different launch vehicles in four countries. Under Mr. Holloway's leadership, the program has successfully launched and assembled several key infrastructure components and welcomed the first full-time resident crew to orbit.
Mr. Holloway began his remarkable four-decade career after earning his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas. He joined NASA as a flight planner in Project Mercury in 1963. Later, he created flight plans, flight data file processes and flight crew procedures critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo Programs.
In 1978, Mr. Holloway was named a Space Shuttle Flight Director, where he helped to resolve critical orbit and ascent flight operation issues and ensure the success of the initial shuttle flights. Selected as Chief of the Flight Director Office in 1984, he guided all aspects of Shuttle flight operations. After the Challenger accident, he headed an investigation of mission planning and operations analysis activities and led the revision, updating, and validation of all flight rules, mission documentation and launch commit criteria — all crucial to the Shuttle's highly successful return to flight.
As Deputy Manager for Program Integration for the Space Shuttle Program and later as Manager of the Shuttle-Mir Phase One Program, Mr. Holloway implemented a first-of-its-kind partnership between the U.S. and Russian Space Agencies. This partnership gave NASA the experience and expertise to assemble and operate the ISS. His leadership was the cornerstone to the historic first docking of the Space Shuttle to Mir in July 1995. The mission laid the groundwork for the success of all subsequent Shuttle-Mir missions.
In 1995, Mr. Holloway was asked to lead the Space Shuttle Program as Program Manager. He directed 23 safe and successful Shuttle missions, resulting in solid scientific study, groundbreaking satellite repairs, critical preparation for future ISS activities, and the delivery of Unity, the first U.S.-built module for ISS. Under his leadership, the Shuttle program was consolidated and reorganized for technical and budgetary efficiency. He accomplished the top three goals of the Space Shuttle Program: fly safely, meet the flight schedule and reduce costs.
Named to his current position in 1999, Mr. Holloway has transformed his organization by improving technical integration policies, updating ground and flight operations processes, and streamlining management processes to improve overall systems and reduce risks. Recognized for his leadership abilities and motivational skills, Mr. Holloway has created a vision and mission for the program. He believes in developing his people and creating a learning organization that emphasizes core values of safety, trust, integrity, respect for people and technical excellence. He is the hardest-working individual in the program and is meeting ISS milestones with grace and his signature modesty.
The challenges of putting thousands of pieces of hardware into orbit are staggering, but Mr. Holloway faces these issues with natural country charm and keen engineering instincts. Soft-spoken, folksy, and possessing and uncanny ability to focus on what's important, he has paired operational know-how with outstanding leadership skills.
Widely respected by those around him, Mr. Holloway is known for his integrity, honesty and humility. He would say that his career successes are attributable to the people who work for him. Those very people would say they have been inspired by Mr. Holloway's work ethic, lifelong devotion to the space program and hands-on management style.
NASA has frequently recognized Mr. Holloway's contributions to human space flight. His awards and honors include three NASA Exceptional Service Medals: the NASA Outstanding leadership Medal; two Presidential Meritorious Rank Awards; the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award; the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal; and the Galveston County Chamber of Commerce Robert R. Gilruth Award.
Although Mr. Holloway has given so much of his time and energy to the advancement of the space program, he has also been active in his community. He has served his church, Boy Scouts, team sports, and YMCA youth activities.
Mr. Holloway and his wife, Shirley, live in the Clear Lake area. Mr. Holloway hails Shirley as his "beacon and number one supporter" throughout his career. They have three children: Wesley, of Fort Worth; Tonya, of Spring; and Timothy, of League City. Eight grandchildren are their "pride and joy."