- Press Release
- Oct 3, 2022
Farewell Message From Mike Kostelnik
Dear NASA Friends and Colleagues,
The safe launch and landing of the Space Shuttle Discovery completes a very successful STS-114 Return to Flight mission and brings closure to another important chapter in NASA’s human spaceflight history. I congratulate the Space Shuttle team for this Herculean effort, and thank them for the opportunity to have been a small part of their team.
I came to NASA in 2002 at the request of Fred Gregory to work program management issues associated with Tom Young’s IMCE report on ISS. That work was completed long ago, but Columbia happened on my watch and I felt a personal obligation to myself and to the human spaceflight team to stay until we had safely returned to flight. With the safe landing of STS-114 my contributions to human spaceflight are now complete and I am able to leave the Agency in good conscience and seek fresh challenges in other directions. I have respectfully declined the opportunity to accept reassignment within NASA and will instead leave the Agency to pursue other opportunities where my strengths and talents can continue to make a difference. My last day in the Space Operations Mission Directorate will be Friday the 26th of August. I have benefited personally and professionally from my relatively brief time in NASA, and will always be impressed with the diligence, dedication and overall quality of the NASA workforce.
Fred Gregory promised me a tough challenging job, and a lot of great people to work with when he and Roy Bridges coxed me out of my home in Florida three years ago. I have had the privilege and rare good fortune to have experienced both during my time in NASA. I wish NASA’s human spaceflight team and all of the Agency’s new leadership the very best as they continue to aggressively pursue the nation’s Exploration Vision. The heartbreaking loss of Columbia and the resulting challenges of Return to Flight have stressed, grown, and matured a young organization of talented individuals and turned them into a strong mission oriented team. I will leave NASA this week secure in the knowledge that there remains behind an extraordinary team of leaders and followers well prepared to tackle the tough exploration tasks which lie ahead.