August 29, 2016 – The Aerospace Corporation recognized its Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Program Launch Operations team with the 2016 Program Recognition Award on Thursday, August 25, at an early evening celebration.
Aerospace President Steve Isakowitz, Senior Executive Service member Dr. Claire Leon of the Space and Missile Systems Center, and many other special guests were in attendance to see the largest team to accept the honor since the award’s inception in 1982.
The EELV Program Launch Operations team is recognized for its exceptional performance over the last 14 years, working in close partnership with the Air Force, a national security customer, and United Launch Alliance. During that time, team members worked collaboratively with their customers to launch 58 critical national security spacecraft, as well as 34 civil and commercial missions into space. Since the inaugural Atlas V and Delta IV launches in 2002, the team has compiled a record of mission success unmatched in the history of space launch.
“I see how hard this team works day in and day out to ultimately get to the launch at the end,” said Dr. David Gorney, executive vice president and host of the event. He explained that it is difficult to appreciate the innovation and ingenuity that is involved in the success of the mission without being intimately involved in the process.
Randy Kendall, vice president, Space Launch Operations, said he was pleased that the team was recognized for the sustaining record of success, rather than it being an award for a singular achievement or for solving a particular problem. “I am thrilled we are celebrating a long stream of successes,” he said.
Dr. Wanda Austin, CEO, congratulated the team and commented on her confidence in them before presenting the award to Dr. Mark Brosmer, general manager, Launch Operations Division. “People always ask me what keeps me up at night,” she said. “I never lose sleep over a launch because we have a first-class team that follows a disciplined process.”
Brosmer conveyed the message that launch is a team sport. He told the group in attendance that “It takes a team, especially when you are looking at the number of successful launches we have had in this program since 2003 … two-thirds of those missions were the ones that you sweat through, and you continue to work through the commercial and civil missions, as well.”
Brosmer ended his remarks by reciting a toast that is given after every launch mission. “To err is human, forgiveness divine, but the only thing they pay us for is mission success. To success!”
The EELV program was established by the U.S. Air Force to provide assured access to space for Department of Defense (DoD) and other government payloads. The commercially developed EELV program supports the full range of government mission requirements, while delivering on schedule and providing significant cost savings over the heritage launch systems.