Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

George Abbey moves to NASA Headquarters
Posted: February 23, 2001

  George Abbey
George Abbey. Photo: NASA-JSC
NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin on Friday appointed George Abbey, Director of the Johnson Space Center (JSC), as his Senior Assistant for International Issues. This appointment comes after a highly decorated career stemming from the Apollo program, which earned Abbey the Medal of Freedom for his role on the Apollo 13 Mission Operations Team.

Roy Estess, Director of NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, will serve as the acting director of JSC. Stennis is the Agency's lead center for rocket propulsion testing and for commercial remote sensing.

"George has done a commendable job of leading a safe and dependable Space Shuttle program," said Goldin. "The International Space Station is now a reality, thanks to George's extensive commitment and capability. Destiny, the U.S. laboratory module, was successfully delivered to the ISS just a week ago. The United States has a permanent presence in space. I am profoundly grateful to George for his professional and personal dedication to the Agency.

"As the President has indicated, there needs to be reform in human spaceflight. During this time of transition, it is also the time for a change of leadership at the Johnson Space Center. We face a difficult and challenging future within the space program, and Roy Estess, working closely with Joe Rothenberg, Associate Administrator for Space Flight, will ensure a firm footing during this period.

"The people at the Johnson Space Center are outstanding, and they will continue to make the space program strong. Roy Estess is a great Center Director, and I encourage the JSC staff to give Roy their full support," said Goldin.

Rothenberg will have the responsibility, along with Estess, to look at the talent at NASA and make recommendations as to who should be the new leader of JSC. Estess' 40-year career in critical engineering and management positions distinguished him as a recognized leader, twice receiving the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.

Rothenberg, head of NASA's Human Exploration and Development of Space Enterprise, has institutional responsibilities for the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and the Stennis Space Center. Rothenberg previously served as the Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

Spanning a 50-year career, Abbey's legacy reveals a professional dedication that created hallmarks in the history of space flight. Resigning his Air Force commission in 1967, he distinguished himself at the Johnson Space Center through increasingly responsible positions where he served as the Director of Flight Operations, responsible for the early operational flights of the Space Shuttle, and the Director of Flight Crew Operations, responsible for management of flight crews as well as center aircraft.

Abbey held senior level positions at NASA Headquarters before he was named acting JSC Director in 1995, becoming Center Director in 1996. In 1991, he was appointed to the Executive Office of the President as Senior Director, Civil Space Policy, National Space Council.