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Message from the NASA Administrator - Year Ender

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011

image Subject: Message from the Administrator - Year Ender
From: Administrator Charles Bolden
Date: Friday, December 16, 2011

Message from the Administrator - Year Ender

Hello. I want to wish the entire NASA family a happy, safe and blessed holiday season. As we approach a new year, we have much for which to be proud and thankful in 2011.

Each of you has had a role in our many successes. I want to thank each of you for your continued dedication to NASA and for all of your efforts, which are keeping America the leader in space exploration.

2011 truly marks the beginning of a new era in the human exploration of our solar system. Just as important are our ground-breaking discoveries about the universe and the planet on which we live, as well as our work to inspire and educate a new generation of scientists and engineers. It's been a landmark 2011 for the entire NASA team.

Among our many accomplishments, this year we safely retired the Space Shuttle Program after 30 incredible years of flight. The final flight was a bittersweet day for many of us, but we now open a new chapter in exploration, standing on the shoulders of the thousands of men and women who made the shuttle the successful and cutting edge program it was.

We continued to work aboard the International Space Station 24/7, as we have for 11 years now, and we are taking steps to bring it to its full potential as a unique laboratory that will help us reach farther destinations and improve life on Earth.

We made more agreements to facilitate commercial transportation to low Earth orbit so we can focus on the next great challenges -- the missions of tomorrow to asteroids and Mars.

We took tangible steps toward those missions by deciding on the path for our new heavy lift rocket and the Orion crew vehicle, and by moving forward with space technology programs to help us develop the capabilities of a space-faring nation. In fact, the Office of the Chief Technologist has more than 1,000 projects underway, ranging across all technical areas and levels of technical maturity.

Science had a banner year with the Aquarius launch to study our oceans, plus launches of GRAIL to the moon, Juno to Jupiter and Curiosity to Mars. All of those launches were against a backdrop of amazing continuous discoveries from our missions already operating, such as Hubble and Chandra and Kepler - which this year discovered a near-Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of its star.

It's a golden age for science, and these missions are rewriting textbooks and inspiring the next generation who want to make their own discoveries.

NASA's aeronautical innovators continued in 2011 to lay the foundation for the future of flight by exploring new ways to manage air traffic, build more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly airliners, and educate the next generation of aviation pioneers.

Our education programs reached tens of thousands of students and teachers through the Summer of Innovation and other programs that helped us successfully develop a variety of new partnerships and engage in activities to promote science, technology, engineering and math education.

I am very proud of all of our accomplishments, and I am proud of you, THE BEST TEAM in government. Together, we've weathered some challenging times and come out on a dynamic path that has broad agreement across the political spectrum, and which once again gives NASA big things to do -- things no one but us can accomplish.

I know I can count on all of you in 2012 to continue to excel. As we go our respective ways to share time with friends and families over the holidays, I ask that you take a moment to think about and pray for our men and women of the Armed Forces - many of whom continue to serve far from home this Christmas.

I especially hope, though, that you will take great pride in this year's accomplishments and share my hope for a bright future that we will bring about together.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Charlie B.

Watch the video

To see the administrator's comments, click on the image above or go to: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=124896531

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