APL Colloquium

October 10, 2000

Colloquium Topic: NASA in the 21st Century

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Colloquium Speaker: Daniel S. Goldin

The Honorable Daniel S. Goldin in his eight years as NASA's Administrator has initiated a revolution to transform America's aeronautics and space program. Before his arrival at NASA, the agency was perceived to be a bloated bureaucracy pursuing missions that were too expensive, took too long to develop and flew too infrequently. Through Dr. Goldin's aggressive management reforms, annual budgets and civil work force have been reduced, productivity gains have climbed and his "faster, better, cheaper" approach has enabled the agency to deliver programs of high value. Dr. Goldin implemented a more balanced aeronautics and space program by reducing human space flight from 48% of NASA's total budget to 38% and increasing funding for science and aerospace technology from 31% to 43%. He has also cut the time required to develop Earth - and space-science spacecraft by 40% and reduced the cost by two-thirds, while increasing the average number of missions launched per year about four times. For his many achievements and his effectiveness, Dr. Goldin has been lavishly praised by both the national media and the national leaders. The National Journal observed that "most space watchers say that Dr. Goldin is a brilliant visionary who brought NASA back from the brink of a black hole." Nowhere has his vision been more evident than in the comprehensive strategy for space exploration. He initiated the Origins Program to understand how the Universe has evolved, to learn how life began on Earth and to see if life exists elsewhere. He led a rescue plan for the successful installation of a "contact lens" on the Hubble Space Telescope leading to startling discoveries of the cosmos. To expand opportunities for public and educational participation in the adventures of space exploration and research, Dr. Goldin directed NASA's program managers to incorporate internet access into mission outreach plans. In 1998, Yahoo Internet Life magazine selected the NASA site as one of the 12 best on the World Wide Web, and for two consecutive years has named it the "Best Astronomy Internet Site". To ensure a robust future for the aerospace industry and to build new commercial opportunities in space tourism, he has challenged NASA's Aerospace Technology program to make space travel 10,000 times safer and 100 times cheaper. Before coming to NASA, Dr. Goldin was Vice President and General Manager of the TRW Space and Technology Group in Redondo Beach, CA. During a 25-year career at TRW, he led projects for America's defense and conceptualized and managed production of advanced communication spacecraft, space technologies and scientific instruments. Dr. Goldin began his career at NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, OH, in 1962, and worked on electric propulsion systems for human interplanetary travel. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineers, the International Academy of Astronautics and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has received innumerable awards and thirteen Honorary Doctorate degrees.