After nearly ten years as the head of America's space program, NASA's longest-serving Administrator, Daniel S. Goldin, today announced his resignation, effective November 17.
"For nearly a decade, it has been my honor to serve the American people by leading our Nation's space program and its dedicated personnel," Administrator Goldin said in a letter to President George W. Bush. "It was the highlight of my life when your father asked me in 1992 to serve as America's ninth Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration."
In his letter, the Administrator added he was happy and proud to serve three presidents and considered it an honor and a duty to stay when President Bush asked him to minister the office until a new NASA Administrator was found.
While no replacement has been selected, Administrator Goldin will work with the Administration before he leaves office to identify an interim Acting Administrator.
Administrator Goldin, 61, was appointed NASA Administrator April 1, 1992, by President George H.W. Bush and became the Agency's longest-serving chief on March 5, 2001, surpassing James Fletcher's previous record of nearly nine years during two separate terms.
The Administrator also announced he has accepted an interim position as a Senior Fellow for the Council on Competitiveness in Washington, as he transitions into the private sector. The Council sets an action agenda to drive U.S. economic competitiveness and leadership in world markets to raise the standard of living for all Americans, and focuses on strengthening domestic innovation, upgrading the workforce, and benchmarking national economic performance.
In a speech to NASA employees broadcast nationwide on NASA Television, Administrator Goldin thanked the Agency workforce and applauded their dedication.
"We have been through a lot together these past ten years. Our Agency's greatest strength is this team of highly qualified and diverse people," said Administrator Goldin. "Each and every day, you have demonstrated an unyielding devotion to teamwork, communication, creativity and respect. You are clearly committed to excellence. I am proud to have been a part of that commitment and NASA's continuing mission to expand the frontiers of flight, space and knowledge."
During his tenure, Administrator Goldin initiated a revolution to transform America's aeronautics and space program. Despite lower budgets, his "faster, better, cheaper" approach enabled NASA to deliver programs of high value without sacrificing safety.
Through aggressive management reforms, Administrator Goldin reduced annual budgets by cumulative total of $40 billion. He implemented a more balanced aeronautics and space program by reducing human space flight funding from nearly half of NASA's total budget to a little more than one-third. This allowed him to increase funding for science and aerospace technology by more than 10 percent.
While serving as Administrator, the Agency's civil service workforce was reduced by about a third, while the Headquarters' civil service and contractor workforce was reduced by more than half. However, during this time, NASA's overall productivity climbed 40 percent.
Administrator Goldin cut the time required to develop Earth- and space-science spacecraft by 40 percent and reduced the cost by two-thirds, while increasing the average number of missions launched per year by a factor of four. The number of Earth-observing satellites in orbit, collecting vital data, has tripled over the past nine years.
The Administrator played a pivotal role in redesigning the International Space Station and reduced Space Shuttle costs by about one-third, while improving all of NASA's safety indicators. He has been a vigorous proponent for increased exploration of Mars, and expanded opportunities for public and educational participation in the adventure of space exploration. NASA contract awards to minority, small and disadvantaged businesses, and women-owned ventures have more than tripled.
During the Administrator's tenure, NASA launched 171 missions, of which 160 have been successful.
"Being appointed NASA Administrator was the fulfillment of a childhood dream. This is the greatest job in the world and it is difficult to leave a job you love," Administrator Goldin concluded. "But NASA's mission of discovery will continue. Humanity will continue to benefit from the fruits of this journey and I am proud and deeply humbled by the opportunity that was given me. The people of NASA have my unconditional respect and eternal gratitude."
Before coming to NASA, Administrator Goldin was Vice President and General Manager of the TRW Space and Technology Group in Redondo Beach, Calif. During a 25-year career at TRW, he led projects for America's defense, and conceptualized and managed production of advanced communication spacecraft, space technologies and scientific instruments.
Administrator Goldin began his career in 1962 at NASA's Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, now known as the Glenn Research Center. While there he worked on electric propulsion systems for human interplanetary travel.
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