Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It's been an incredible honor to work with and for you over the past 28 years on space station utilization planning, engineering development and operations. Despite what some thought to be insurmountable obstacles, the global team prevailed to deliver one of the greatest engineering achievements and most capable laboratory complexes in history. It's an icon for the power of relentless pursuit and exemplary of what great nations can do through peaceful cooperation.
The time has come for me to accept new challenges. Effective July 27, I will be resigning my position as Director, International Space Station Division, NASA Headquarters. This has been a very difficult decision for me, because my passion throughout the program's long history has been to ensure that the space station be used in the most productive manner possible, and that it yield useful applications in science & technology worthy of the international investment. These outcomes will now remain to be accomplished by those who succeed me. I leave with absolute confidence in the practical uses for orbital space stations and microgravity environments. If you want to better understand my rationale for this belief, just review the attached paper - my last public contribution to the field of microgravity R&D.
I have accepted a position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to work on the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER). The ITER Program is another global partnership that is already engaged in the construction of a large-scale nuclear fusion reactor in Cadarache, France. This team's objective is to sustain burning fusion plasma for 200 seconds, or to "bring a star to Earth". I'll also contribute to the ORNL mission to advance neutron sciences and clean nuclear energy technologies. I can't imagine more productive goals with more impactful outcomes, and I am very excited to receive yet a second incredible opportunity in one lifetime.
For those of you who know me well, you'll recall that I enjoy collecting oddities and antiquities. One of my recent acquisitions was an authentic Shenandoah River pot still ;-). So please visit if you find yourself in the East Tennessee region in the years to come. You can always reach me via xxxxx.
My warmest regards to all and best wishes for success with the future of human space flight,
PS: Everyone needs a space coyote; I was fortunate enough to have two (attached)!