Joseph G. Gavin, Jr., and Eugene F. (Gene) Kranz have been named the 2010 winners of the Godfrey L. Cabot Award by the Aero Club of New England (ACONE). Both recipients played critical roles in the Gemini and Apollo space programs that landed the first men on the moon by the United States.
Gavin was instrumental in the development of the Lunar Landing Module used by NASA and it was his expertise that helped save the astronauts on the ill-fated Apollo 13. When an oxygen tank aboard the craft exploded, the astronauts used the lunar module, built by Gavin’s team at Grumman Aircraft Engineering, as a refuge during a return to Earth and a safe splashdown. Gavin, a graduate of MIT, is a recipient of the NASA Distinguished Public Medal, member of the International Academy of Astronautics, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
Kranz served on NASA’s Mission Control Team for projects Gemini, and Apollo, eventually becoming “Flight Director,” making him the absolute authority for operational decisions. Those decisions resulted in the successful moon landing of Apollo 11 and the rescue of the Apollo 13 astronauts.
His team was on duty when the Apollo 13 Service Module exploded. His “Tiger Team” set the constraints for the consumption of spacecraft consumables (oxygen, electricity and water), controlled the three course-correction burns during the trans-Earth trajectory, as well as the power-up procedures that allowed the astronauts to use the Command Module for the trip home. He and his team, as well as the astronauts, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Godfrey L. Cabot Award is bestowed by the Aero Club of New England, the oldest aero club in the Americas, to individuals or teams who have made unique and unparalleled contributions to encourage and advance aviation and space flight. Past recipients include Igor Sikorsky, General Curtis LeMay, Commander Alan Shepard , Jr., and General Charles “Chuck” Yeager, to name a few.
The men will receive the award at the annual awards luncheon June 11 in Boston.
For more information: ACONE.org or 781-592-9357.