WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden issued the following statement Wednesday on the death of former Kennedy Space Center Director Forrest McCartney:
"On behalf of the entire NASA family, I wish to express our condolences on the passing of Retired United States Air Force Lt. General and former Kennedy Space Center Director Forrest S. McCartney.
After 35 years of distinguished service in the Unites States Air Force, McCartney was named Kennedy Space Center director in 1987, only months after the fateful Challenger accident had shocked the nation and put the shuttle program on hiatus. McCartney's visionary leadership resulted in the shuttle's return-to-flight and a stellar safety record during his five-year tenure.
In the 50-year history of Kennedy Space Center there have been only 10 directors. Forrest McCartney was one of the finest. As an engineer, a patriot and a leader, McCartney leaves an indelible mark on America's space program. His service to his country and to Kennedy earned him distinguished service medals from both the Air Force and NASA.
We are grateful for his many contributions and we honor his legacy by rededicating ourselves to the values of exploration, education and inspiration that were the hallmarks of his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ruth and the McCartney family."