WASHINGTON - NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin issued the following statement Wednesday regarding the announcement that Dr. S. Alan Stern, NASA associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, has decided to leave the agency.
"Alan has rendered invaluable service to NASA as the Principal Investigator for the Pluto/New Horizons mission, as a member of the NASA Advisory Council, and as the associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate. While I deeply regret his decision to leave NASA, I understand his reasons for doing so, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
Griffin also announced that Dr. Edward J. Weiler, director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., will serve as interim associate administrator.
Weiler was appointed to Goddard in August 2004. Previously, he had served as the associate administrator for the agency's Space Science Enterprise from 1998 to 2004.
Prior to his selection as associate administrator, Weiler served as the director of the Astronomical Search for Origins Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. He also served as the chief scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope from 1979 until 1998. Weiler joined Headquarters in 1978 as a staff scientist and was promoted to the chief of the Ultraviolet/Visible and Gravitational Astrophysics Division in 1979.
"Though we regret Alan's departure, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Ed Weiler back to NASA HQ once again to assume the mantle of SMD leadership. With his experienced guidance, science at NASA will continue to thrive," said Griffin.
A native of Chicago, Weiler earned his doctorate in Astrophysics from Northwestern University in 1976.
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