Every now and then Dan Goldin does something very right. Appointing Joe Rothenberg to be Associate Administrator of the Office of Space Flight (OSF) is one of those things.
Rothenberg's appointment OSF AA marks the beginning of a break with the Shuttle Era and the true beginning of the Space Station era. ISS design is all but finished. What little design remains is in the category of optimization, utilization, and maintenance. Although the arduous process of assembling this immense spacecraft is still to come, the task ahead is to how to make it work and how to deal with unexpected setbacks. Rothenberg's experience with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and his interactions with JSC during the repair mission should be a key asset to this next phase of human space flight.
The Shuttle-Mir experience has given NASA a wake-up call with regard to the looming transition from a sortie mode of operations (go there and then come right back) to one more akin to an expedition (go there - and stay there). As is the case with any expedition, getting there is only part of the task. Keeping the expedition team safe and productive and deriving knowledge from the experience are the other key aspects.