Gration to Head NASA, MSNBC
"Nelson, the senior Senator from Florida, flew in space himself and when hearing about Gration's possible appointment said, "I think President Bush made a mistake when he appointed someone without NASA experiece in Sean O'Keefe to head the agency." Following the loss of the space shuttle Columbia's crew of seven O'Keefe was replaced by current NASA Administrator Michael Griffin."
Editor's update: The following was provided by former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe in response to Jay Barbree's article at MSNBC today:
"Jay, just saw your online posting. I didn't realize you had such a dismissive opinion of my tenure. Sen. Nelson never expressed his disapproval, but he's certainly entitled to his view.
But regardless of your opinions, the facts in your column are a bit off. The Columbia accident happened barely a year after I arrived at NASA. Your article infers that Mike Griffin replaced me soon after the Columbia tragedy. In fact, it was nearly two and a half years later.
In that span of time, we formulated a new strategy for NASA -- the Vision for Space Exploration -- announced in January 2004 almost a year after Columbia. We implemented all the Return to Flight requirements recommended by the CAIB before my departure. My successor arrived in time to witness the RTF launch. In between those events we landed the Rovers on Mars - developed, built and launched during my tenure - and kept the space station occupied and supplied through a close cooperation with our Russian space colleagues
So, in spite of my lacking prior experience at NASA, perhaps we did OK? Of course, all that was accomplished is a testimonial to the great commitment of the professionals at NASA. I was given the priviledge of serving them.
Best regards, Sean"