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Sunday, December 12, 2004

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe to Resign

Sean O'Keefe.
Sean O'Keefe.
Credit: NASA
NASA's tenth administrator, Sean O'Keefe is set to resign sometime this week. His most probable successor is Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, retired director of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency. O'Keefe is likely to become school chancellor at Louisiana State University, in his native state. Both criticized and applauded for his management skills, having directed reforms in the Navy and as deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, O'Keefe is considered a high profile choice for LSU.

The change in command comes at a turbulent time in NASA's long existence, with the administration under fire for its apparent irrelevance and wasteful spending. Champions of a privately funded mission to Mars (who received a victory on Wednesday with the US Congressional approval of space tourism) have long despised O'Keefe's apparent insensitivity to a cooperative effort with private enterprise for human exploration of the solar system. His resignation will also remove a major roadblock for the reparation of the Hubble Space Telescope. However, should President Bush appoint Lt. Gen. Kadish to the position, the administration could be criticized for investigating military involvement in space. The new appointment could come on Thursday.

O'Keefe became NASA Administrator on December 21, 2001, replacing Daniel Goldin.

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- posted by Alex @ 13:25 EST