O’Keefe to Leave NASA

December 13th, 2004

Posted by: admin

A number of papers reported the impending resignation of Sean O’Keefe from NASA this weekend.

His resignation comes on the heels of a difficult week, with the release of a NRC report advocating a shuttle mission to Hubble and a study reporting costs of $2 billion for a robotic Hubble servicing. Roger has discussed the NRC report here on Prometheus. Unlike the NRC, the second study by the Aerospace Corporation includes a number of alternatives for Hubble, including a robotic mission, deorbit and use of instruments on another telescope, and a manned mission. The full-report is not available online, but if it does appear I’ll be sure to post it here.

Mr. O’Keefe has been steadfast in his determination that no shuttle mission to Hubble should be flown, saying in June,

“Some have observed that this analysis is flawed. This might well be, but it is the analysis I’ve conducted and the judgment I’ve reached based on a very close, regular review of the Return to Flight challenges currently underway. Others may reach a different conclusion and harbor a different opinion, but none who have offered opposing views will be responsible for the outcome.”

This suggests that the new Adminstrator may, in fact, reach a different conclusion. Reports suggest Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish as a likely successor.

Administrator O’Keefe will certainly be remembered for his role in the Hubble debate. In addition, his watch has included the destruction of Columbia and Return to Flight, a large increase in the NASA space science and manned budget, and a new committment to send humans to the Moon and Mars. What are your comments on O’Keefe’s departure?

One Response to “O’Keefe to Leave NASA”

  1. joe Says:

    I think it’s a great opportunity to question Moon to Mars and the ISS in general… but I’ve always been critical of ISS.