WASHINGTON – If you've been a fan of NASA's website for more than a decade, you can thank an unlikely space geek: actor Tom Cruise.
Or so says former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, who ran the agency from 2001 to 2004.
During a May 11 panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) here, O'Keefe said it was the "Top Gun" and "Mission: Impossible" star who encouraged him to redesign NASA's website. To paraphrase "Risky Business," sometimes you just gotta say, 'what the [heck],' and make your move.
Cruise — who narrated the 2002 IMAX documentary "Space Station 3D" — also lent members of his production team to the effort, according to O'Keefe.
Here's how O'Keefe related the story:
Cruise, incidentally, starred in a 2013 movie called "Oblivion" playing an astronaut who safeguards Earth's natural resources from alien invaders. But getting back to O'Keefe's story:
O'Keefe, a CSIS senior adviser who returned to Syracuse University last fall following a five year stint at Airbus North America, said he often returns to the example.
"Every time I encounter situations like this on how do you make the information more available, I gotta thank Tom Cruise for his blinding flash of the obvious," he said.
You can listen to O'Keefe tell the story himself. We've the embedded the CSIS video below and fast-forwarded it straight to the good part.
Meanwhile, there was no immediate word on what O'Keefe or Cruise think of NASA's current website, which was thoroughly redesigned three weeks ago to put a heavier emphasis on video, graphics and social media.
This story was provided by SpaceNews, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.