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Personnel News

Phil Sabelhaus

By Keith Cowing
February 13, 2017
Filed under
Phil Sabelhaus

“Dear Members Of The JWST Family, It is with much sorrow that I must tell you that our friend and colleague Phil Sabelhaus has passed away. Phil was a friend and mentor. Without Phil’s leadership and wisdom over the years he was the JWST project manager, we would not be where we are today. The Flight Control Room at the JWST Mission Operations Center will be named in his honor. When thinking of the right words to describe Phil, I thought of the song “Oysters and Pearls” by Jimmy Buffett, which is about the differences between people who love to lead and take risks and those who are content with following.”

“The following line seemed to describe Phil the best:
It’s something more than DNA that tells us who we are
It’s method and it’s magic, we are of the stars.
Some people love to lead
And some refuse to dance.
Some play it safely, others take a chance.
Still it’s all a mystery
This place we call the world
Where most live as oysters
While some become pearls.
Phil was a pearl. Now he has returned to the stars and whether he is at his beach house on the moon gazing through windows at galaxies or surfing on a cosmic wave, I know he is looking down at us and smiling at the wonders JWST will find. In the future, if you look closely at any of the amazing images JWST will produce, I know we will see in those images the spirit of Phil Sabelhaus.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.