June 12th, 2005
Dear Space Ops Teammates,
The President's Vision for Space Exploration is truly a bold project, most worthy of our efforts.
As the new plans and systems begin to take shape for its implementation, new leaders will be asked to step forward to begin this transition. This important endeavor is absolutely dependent on our execution of a safe and successful transition - besides, as we all know, NASA is not about any one individual, or even necessarily the organization itself, it is about our missions!
Among those missions, both professionally and personally, at the heart and soul of this transition is my responsibility for return to flight of our Space Shuttles -- a debt we owe to the Columbia crew and their families, to the astronauts who train to serve our nation in space, to each other as members of the spaceflight team and the NASA family, and to the American people.
I had long planned to take my leave of my current assignment in the lead of the spaceflight community following return to flight -- three years is a long time in that position especially for my young family -- particularly post-Columbia. The Administrator has offered me another leadership position within the Agency following return to flight. At that time, I will certainly leave this post for a new challenge, possibly within NASA, but perhaps not. I cannot decide now as my attentions must remain focused on our most critical missions at hand: the safe and successful return of the Space Shuttles to flight, and during that time the Expedition-11 operations aboard the International Space Station, launch of our scientific satellites and supporting our many space communications missions. In the meantime, I have similar expectations of you.
In the midst of transition, we must all remain attentive to all of our missions with the same dedication, commitment and professionalism that have been evident through these last difficult and challenging months and years.
I feel very proud to be a part of such a magnificent team and I look forward to continuing our work together on Space Shuttle Return to Flight and our on-going space operations.
There will be ample time for reflection and farewells once Eileen Collins calls mission control and announces "Houston, Discovery. Wheel stop." Now, let's get on with the job!
With the utmost personal and professional respect,
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