A small gathering of current and former NASA officials and space journalists gathered in the newsroom at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the unveiling of six new names on the facility’s “Chroniclers” wall.
Bruce Hall, Scott Harris, Bill Johnson, Warren Leary, Bob Murray and Phil Sandlin were selected by a committee of their peers to be the 2017 Chroniclers. Brass strips engraved with their names have been added to the list, which recognizes retirees of the news and communications business who helped spread news of American space exploration from Kennedy Space Center for ten years or more. All are known for their excellence in communicating spaceflight’s stories to a global audience.
“I think it’s great to add six more names to the 66 names on the wall behind me,” Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana said as he gestured at the list above, where the names of current and past honorees are joined by a sign that reads, “Recording History.”
“It’s really important, the ability to communicate to the public what we do,” he added.
Hall was a veteran CBS News and NBC News correspondent and producer who covered space for more than two decades, from the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975 through the early years of the shuttle program, including the Challenger accident and return to flight, as well as the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. Hall passed away May 2, just three days before the Chroniclers ceremony. CBS News correspondent Bill Harwood accepted Hall’s award on behalf of his family.
An Orlando TV reporter and anchor for more than 40 years, Harris was widely regarded for his live coverage of space shuttle launches from Kennedy. He worked both the first shuttle launch in April 1981 and the liftoff of the final shuttle mission in July 2011. He passed away one month later at age 64. Harris’s son, Emery McGough, accepted his award.
Johnson began his career at Kennedy in 1965 and spanned more than 45 years. He served for many years as Kennedy’s chief of Media Services, with responsibility for the timely release of NASA news and operation of the space center’s bustling newsroom. Johnson was an awardee of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.
Leary served as a science writer and correspondent for The Associated Press and The New York Times for more than 35 years. An award-winning journalist, Leary covered spaceflight, technology, engineering, aeronautics, and medical science, as well as the investigation into the cause of the 2003 Columbia accident.
Murray was NASA’s first videographer to provide live, airborne TV coverage of space shuttle launches and landings. For more than 23 years, his aerial imagery was seen on television networks and stations, as well as in publications worldwide.
A photographer for United Press International and then The Associated Press, Sandlin covered the U.S. space program from the Apollo missions to the moon through the shuttle program until his retirement in 2001. Sandlin was winner of the National Press Photographers Association’s prestigious Joseph Costa Award in 2016.