Goddard Space Flight Center Director Dr. Edward J. Weiler issued the following statement concerning yesterday’s announcement by NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe about his plans to leave the space agency sometime early next year.

“Mr. O’Keefe has an incredible record of service to this country that includes positions as the Administrator of NASA, the Deputy Director of OMB, a former Secretary of the Navy, among many others. He is a man of enormous intellect, and a sincere passion for this agency, and it was a privilege to work with Sean as a member of his senior leadership team.

“Mr. O’Keefe’s stewardship of this Agency through the devastating loss of the Columbia and her crew, and his leadership and resolve to find the problem, fix it, and return this agency to putting our human spaceflight program back into space has inspired the women and men of NASA and made us all proud to be a part of NASA.

“His other true passion is to the youth of America, the future generations of explorers. He has championed exploration and discovery on behalf of the American people as the mission of this agency from the day he arrived, and his is lasting legacy to NASA is to prepare us to boldly carry out our nation’s vision for space exploration which will ensure America’s preeminence in science and technology.

“On behalf of the entire Goddard team, we wish Sean and his family good luck and God speed.”