Senate Approves Griffin Nomination, New NASA Chief to Be Sworn In Promptly
Update: Story first posted at 9:43 a.m.
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate confirmed Wednesday night the nomination of Mike Griffin to become NASA's new administrator.
Griffin is expected to be sworn in this week and ready to begin his new job by Monday, April 18.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) had promised during Griffin's confirmation hearing Tuesday to push for swift approval of the nominee. Griffin's confirmation was held up briefly by Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) who wanted more detailed responses to questions he had asked Griffin about NASA's declining aeronautics spending during the hearing.
Allen spokesman David Snepp said the senator had asked Stevens to hold off on sending Griffin's nomination to the floor for a vote until he could get the "depth of answers he was looking for". Griffin responded to Allen's seven written questions by 5:30 PM Tuesday, Snepp said. By that time it was decided to wait until Wednesday to act on the nomination. On Wednesday evening, the full Senate unanimously approved Griffin's nomination.
During the hearings, Griffin said that his two top priorities would be safe return to flight of the space shuttle fleet and eliminating the lengthy gap between retiring the shuttle fleet in 2010 and fielding a replacement vehicle, the Crew Exploration Vehicle now scheduled for its initial piloted launch in 2014.
Griffin also said he would reconsider the decision by his predecessor, former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, to cancel a planned shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. "We should reassess the earlier decision in light of what we learn after we return to flight," Griffin said.
NASA sources say Griffin has not been sworn in, but will address the NASA workforce live on NASA TV starting at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
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