In his first major address since being sworn into office, NASA
Administrator Sean O’Keefe today outlined his strategic vision for the
agency’s future, including a component designed to inspire and educate
a new generation of explorers and scientists.

The Administrator shared his vision of NASA’s future in a speech at the
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, located on the campus
of Syracuse University. U.S. Rep. Sherwood L. Boehlert, who oversees
the agency as Chairman of the House Science Committee, and U.S. Rep.
James T. Walsh, who heads the House subcommittee that supervises NASA’s
budget, both of New York, joined Administrator O’Keefe at Maxwell.

“The nation faces extraordinary new challenges. The world is changing,
and if NASA is going to exploit these new opportunities then America’s
space program must also change,” said Administrator O’Keefe. “Our
future decisions will be science-driven, not destination-driven. The
investments we make today must be justified by their contributions to
the long-range goals of the agency.”

Administrator O’Keefe spelled out NASA’s vision and mission:

The new NASA vision for the future is:

To improve life here,

To extend life to there,

To find life beyond

The NASA mission is:

To understand and protect our home planet

To explore the Universe and search for life

To inspire the next generation of explorers

. . . as only NASA can

In his speech titled “Pioneering the Future,” Administrator O’Keefe
outlined the importance of inspiring a new generation of explorers
through education. “Education is part of our core mission,” added
Administrator O’Keefe.

In an effort to take students on a new journey of learning, the
Administrator unveiled plans for a new type of space explorer — an
Educator Mission Specialist. Shortly after completion of the core
elements of the International Space Station in 2004, NASA will send
Barbara Morgan, the agency’s first Educator Mission Specialist, into

Morgan was selected as the backup candidate in 1985 for the Teacher in
Space program. She trained side-by-side with Christa McAuliffe and the
Challenger crew at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. The
Teacher in Space program ended when Challenger exploded Jan. 28, 1986,
killing McAuliffe and her six crewmates.

“The time has come for NASA to complete the mission — to send an
educator to space to inspire and teach our young people,” Administrator
O’Keefe said. “Working in partnership with Education Secretary Rod
Paige, we will make Barbara’s flight the first in a series of missions
in the new Educator in Space program.”

Administrator O’Keefe said it is fitting that Morgan complete the
mission of STS-51L. “For the past 16 years, Barbara has worked with
NASA and countless science organizations, keeping alive Christa
McAuliffe’s inspiration. She is uniquely qualified to take our students
on a journey of education that only NASA could make possible.”

The new vision for the agency builds on NASA’s unique capabilities as
the nation’s premiere aeronautics and aerospace research and technology
organization. “The biggest difference is that we will let specific
science objectives tell us where to go,” concluded Administrator
O’Keefe. “NASA’s mission of discovery will be carried out with a new
commitment to fiscal responsibility and the synergy that comes from
working with other government agencies, private industry and academia.”

The complete text of the Administrator’s address and additional
supporting material are available on the Internet at:

Additional information about Education Mission Specialist Barbara
Morgan is online at: