A Message From NASA’s Administrator

Date: July 23, 2010 12:20:48 PDT
Subject: Message from the Administrator

Point of contact: Michael Cabbage, Office of Communications,
NASA Headquarters, 202-358-1600


One-Year Anniversary Message from the Administrator

This week, Lori and I mark our one-year anniversary here at NASA as Administrator and Deputy Administrator. While I considered just letting this milestone pass without comment, I decided that the accomplishments of our NASA family over the past year needed to be recognized — and celebrated. The way in which each of you has met the tremendous challenges of this time has earned our deepest admiration and appreciation.

In spite of a number of challenges, over these past 12 months you have achieved exceptional things, for which you should all be proud. With the announcement of the National Space Policy last month, NASA is playing a crucial role in helping to move our country into the future by expanding human presence well beyond low Earth orbit, developing new capabilities never-before realized, creating vibrant careers for the young people of America and expanding knowledge and opportunity for all.

Through your dedication, skill, and personal sacrifice, the accomplishments just kept coming. While I can’t possibly mention all that our NASA-contractor team has achieved in recent months, I have chosen just a few that I’d like to highlight:

  • SOMD oversaw the launch of five shuttle missions to the International Space Station (one was on orbit as we took the oath). With these missions behind us, the ISS is now nearly 100% construction complete and ready to come into its full potential. This November, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of ISS habitation. The achievements of the ISS team were recognized this year with the team’s selection for the 2009 Robert J. Collier Trophy – a high honor from the National Aeronautic Association that puts us in the company of the boldest aviation and space pioneers.
  • This past October, ESMD and the Constellation Program successfully launched the Ares I-X prototype rocket, the first of its kind. Data from the launch will be applied for years to come as we develop the next generation of heavy lift vehicles and partner with industry on the development of commercial transportation systems to access low Earth orbit. In May, NASA performed its first developmental flight test of the Orion Launch Abort System at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The Pad Abort-1 test was the first integrated firing of these three distinct motors as part of a system in a real flight environment.
  • The achievements in our Science Mission Directorate were nothing short of amazing. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched February 11, 2010, is providing detailed views of the sun in unprecedented high-resolution. SDO’s amazing work is leading to new understanding of the sun’s effects on the Earth and its behavior, for instance how solar flares can trigger coronal mass ejections hundreds of thousands of miles away. The SOFIA saw its first light on May 26, 2010, with high-resolution observations of Jupiter and the galaxy Messier 82 that exceeded expectations and began what we anticipate will be an extraordinary 20-year journey that will enable new astrophysics observations. We also continue our search for earth-like planets, and the Kepler mission has continually monitored 156,000 stars for subtle brightness changes that might indicate planets like our own. Scientists are now scrutinizing several hundred Kepler stars that may have such Earth-like planets orbiting them. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), launched on December 14, 2009, completed its first survey of the sky on July 16, 2010. WISE’s early images of a comet, a stellar nursery, a nearby galaxy, and a remote cluster of galaxies have provided a first glimpse at the information-rich data to be released to the scientific community in 2011 and 2012.
  • The past year has been an exciting time for NASA Aeronautics, and they’ve earned that first “A” in our acronym. Part of that excitement is a new Integrated Systems Research Program that is evaluating and selecting the most promising “environmentally friendly” engine and airframe concepts for further examination. NASA Aero research results are getting a lot of attention outside the agency and are showing up in new commercial aircraft. Boeing, for instance, just unveiled the new 787 with GE engines that incorporate NASA technology, including scalloped-edge chevrons on the engine and housing that help make air flow smoother and reduce noise. This technology originated at NASA, and now is a key feature on new Boeing 787 and 747-800 series airplanes. The directorate continues to help us envision the future of aviation through a number of contests and calls for proposals to incorporate design and technology advancements into aircraft, and this year several teams reported out design concepts for future “green aviation” planes that might enter service by 2035.

I could go on with the list of achievements from 2009 and early 2010, but I think you all get the point. NASA is the acknowledged global leader in exploration, and our international partners continue to look to us for that very leadership. Nations around the world envy NASA’s accomplishments, and it is because of your hard work.

Of course, we must always strive to do better, and like you, Lori and I are committed to doing just that. The coming months will give us many opportunities to hone our skills and work as a united team toward the big goals the agency has before it.

I count it a blessing and an honor to be part this incredible team. Each of you contributed to the success of this team, and you should feel just as proud of yourselves and your accomplishments as do I. We will certainly face continued challenges, but together, we’ll overcome them and continue to give our nation the best civil space program in the world. Thanks very much for a memorable first year!


Charlie B.

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