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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


National Space Society statement on the resignation of
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe

Washington, DC, December 14, 2004 - The executive director of the National Space Society, George Whitesides, made the following remarks on the announcement of Sean O'Keefe's resignation:

"Sean O'Keefe arrived at NASA with a commitment to financial responsibility, but he leaves the agency with a broader legacy. He deserves sincere thanks for his compassionate stewardship of the agency through the Columbia accident and the return of the shuttle to flight. He deserves serious respect for his leadership in formulating, staffing and funding the Vision for Space Exploration. It is clear that NASA's recent budget victory would not have been possible without Mr. O'Keefe's advocacy; what should be equally recognized is that the transformation Mr. O'Keefe initiated upon his arrival was critical to building an environment in which the president could launch the new vision."

"The torch of human exploration of our solar system has been re-lit. It must now be taken up with equal vigor by Mr. O'Keefe's successor. The transformation of NASA has only just begun. We must enable the heroes inside the agency to accomplish the ambitious goals we share -- building the space station into a vigorous outpost of human space settlement, sending humans to the Moon and Mars to stay, and working with the private sector to build a thriving commercial space infrastructure. With the president, Congress, and the American people behind NASA, the next Administrator must be ready to make the choices necessary to make these goals real."

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About the National Space Society:
The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS counts thousands of members and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. For more information about NSS, and how to join or donate, visit: http://www.nss.org

For More Information:
George Whitesides
Executive Director
National Space Society
(202) 429-1600
george@nss.org


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