NASA Chief on the Way Out

Stepping down. Sean O'Keefe plans to leave NASA and return to academia.

After 3 years on the job, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe is resigning. O'Keefe sent a letter to the president on 13 December saying he intended to step down. But he promised to stay on until a successor is chosen. A half-dozen names are being floated as possible nominees, and the White House is expected to announce its choice soon.

O'Keefe hopes to return to academia, and has applied to be chancellor of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He formerly was a business professor at Syracuse University in New York.

After serving as deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, O'Keefe took over at NASA amid cost overruns in the space shuttle and station programs. The Columbia shuttle was destroyed a year later ( ScienceNOW, 3 February 2003) and much of his time has been devoted to returning the shuttle fleet to service. He also won the president's approval for his key role in developing a long-term exploration plan for humans to return to the moon and eventually go on to Mars (ScienceNOW, 14 January).

Related site
O'Keefe's biography (from NASA)

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