(Washington, D.C.) - Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison released the following statement on the retirement of Mike Coats as the Director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston:
"Mike Coats has had a long and distinguished career of public service. As a Navy pilot during Vietnam, he logged over 300 combat missions. After joining NASA, he piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery and served as Commander for two other shuttle flights. He now is finishing his distinguished career as the 10th Director of the Johnson Space Center.
"Director Coats has been an outstanding Director of JSC and has been critical to the challenge of transitioning NASA's foremost human spaceflight center from the post space shuttle era to supporting the early stages of our nation's new human exploration vehicles. He has demonstrated exceptional leadership and worked well with Congress to ensure NASA's continued excellence.
"I wish Mike the best of luck in his retirement and I hope he will remain engaged in future discussions about the future of America's space flight program.
"I am also delighted to hear that Deputy Director Ellen Ochoa will succeed Mike. Her elevation to the top position at JSC will provide the program with continuity. Her experience as an astronaut will provide an important perspective to her work as the Director of JSC."