NASA Names New Shuttle Program Chief
Wayne Hale, NASA's former shuttle program manager, is pictured during a 2005 briefing previewing the agency's STS-114 return to flight mission.
CAPE CANAVERAL - NASA shuffled shuttle program management Friday, sending its chief off to a newly created post and installing his deputy in the top spot.
Wayne Hale, who played a pivotal role in NASA's recovery from the 2003 Columbia accident, will lead a new office responsible for developing strategies for a smooth transition between shuttle and International Space Station operations and moon missions.
NASA plans to finish the station and retire its aging shuttle fleet in 2010, a move that will trigger significant job losses, including 2,500 to 3,500 at Kennedy Space Center, according to local government estimates.
A five-year hiatus in NASA human spaceflight is projected before the U.S. sends astronauts back to the moon by 2020.
A talented engineer who is considered articulate and inspirational, Hale will focus on communicating NASA transition strategies to agency and contractor workers and the public.
"His eloquence certainly lends to his credibility, and he has the credentials to deal with transition activities and convey them as a representative of the agency," NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said.
His replacement is John Shannon, a former flight director who has been serving as deputy shuttle program manager.
"John Shannon is completely ready to take the reins in NASA's most critical program," Hale said in a statement. "His leadership skills are well established, and the shuttle program will do well under his care."
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