Press Release

NASA Safety Chief Bryan O’Connor To Retire

By SpaceRef Editor
July 26, 2011
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WASHINGTON — Bryan O’Connor, NASA’s chief of safety and mission assurance since 2002, has announced plans to retire from the agency on Aug. 31.

“Bryan is a fellow Marine, trusted advisor and friend I have been privileged to serve with off and on since our years as plebes at the U.S. Naval Academy,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “I am deeply grateful for his vigilance over the safety and well-being of NASA’s people and its work. His concern and commitment have encompassed not just the space shuttle and the astronaut corps, but every mission, large or small, and every member of the NASA family. He’ll be sorely missed.”

O’Connor announced his plans to members of his staff in NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance on Tuesday. In his current role, he is responsible for the safety, reliability, maintainability and quality assurance of all NASA programs.

“Even though good practice suggests shorter tours for senior leaders, I did not want to pass the safety baton until after the STS-135 crew left Atlantis on the runway,” O’Connor said. “This transition is a great time to let someone new take on this wonderful role you’ve permitted me to serve in.”

Atlantis completed STS-135, the last mission of the space shuttle program, with a landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 21.

O’Connor held management positions in NASA’s space shuttle, International Space Station, and Shuttle-Mir programs, and played prominent safety management roles in the agency’s recovery from two space shuttle accidents, the loss of Challenger in 1986 and the loss of Columbia in 2003. Prior to that, he joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 1980 and flew two missions aboard the space shuttle.

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SpaceRef staff editor.