Now that you have settled into the New Year and recovered from the flurry
of holiday activity, I want to thank you for making the transition into the
new millennium look easy. But we all know it was anything but easy.
Hundreds of NASA employees and
contractors — led by the Agency’s Y2K team — have been working since 1996
to make sure the agency was ready. Many of you did this in addition to
other duties, and also gave up your New Years’ Eve holiday to make sure
everything went right.

As of this week, we had a few minor anomalies that were easily fixed, but
no significant problems. Only two of those anomalies — involving two
pieces of planning software for the Deep Space Network and the Upper
Atmosphere Research Satellite — appear to be Y2K related. Neither affected
real-time, mission-critical
systems. That we were able to make the transition without any significant
problems is a tribute to your commitment and hard work. For all your
efforts, thank you and congratulations.

I also want to thank the NASA team for extraordinary efforts in the final
days of 1999. In less than 72 hours, we saw the launch of three spacecraft
with spectacular missions — Terra on Dec. 18, the Space Shuttle Discovery
on Dec. 19, and ACRIMSAT on
Dec. 20.

To the Space Shuttle team, you are proving time and time again that you are
dedicated to excellence and safety. You don’t just talk the talk. You walk
the walk. You put mission success ahead of personal priorities. The
meticulous attention to detail that
was apparent during your launch readiness process is a testament to your
professionalism. The nation appreciates the personal sacrifices that you
and your families made during the holiday season to ensure the safety of
our astronauts and the success of the flight. The STS-103 Hubble Space
Telescope servicing mission
has restored the world’s “eyes” on the Universe. Thanks to your efforts,
the telescope will continue to astonish astronomers, inspire the public,
and give us new insights into our galaxy.

While the Hubble focuses its “eyes” outward, NASA/USAF/industry teams are
taking us into a new era in Earth observation with the launch of Terra and
ACRIMSAT. The Terra team rose to the unique challenges of the mission, a
narrow window combined with the
maiden launch of the Atlas Centaur vehicle on a new launch complex at
Vandenberg Air Force Base. Throughout the launch readiness process, you
remained focused on safety and mission success, accepting schedule impacts
associated with ensuring the
highest probability of mission success. NASA’s ACRIMSAT team joined forces
with our corporate partners to guarantee a safe and successful ride to
orbit. Both Terra and ACRIMSAT will change and improve our understanding of
Earth, and help us better manage the precious resources of our home planet.
Like the Shuttle and Y2K teams, your personal sacrifices over the holiday
period did not go unnoticed, and your dedication to NASA and to the nation
is greatly appreciated.

Everyone involved with the Y2K, Shuttle, Terra and ACRIMSAT teams should be
very proud of their contributions to these end-of-the-year missions, giving
NASA and America a tremendous end to a very dynamic year. Thank you from
all of us!

Daniel S. Goldin

NASA Administrator