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Cabana Takes Over As Kennedy Space Center Director

October 1, 2008

NASA announced Tuesday that William Parsons, director of the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is leaving the agency in mid-October to pursue opportunities in the private sector. Parsons will be succeeded by former astronaut Robert Cabana, currently director of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Gene Goldman, Stennis’ deputy director, will become the acting center director.

Parsons, who joined NASA in 1990, also has served as director of Stennis. His other NASA assignments have included launch site support manager, manager of the Space Station Hardware Integration Office, chief of operations of the Propulsion Test Directorate, Space Shuttle Program manager and deputy director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

“It has been my distinct privilege to have gotten to know and work with Bill Parsons since joining NASA as the administrator,” NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said. “In managing both centers and programs for NASA, Bill has demonstrated unswerving dedication to the mission and unshakable loyalty to his teammates. I have learned to expect that from marines, and Bill’s early training is always in evidence. While wishing him well in his new endeavors, I will miss him greatly.”

His successor, Cabana, is a native of Minnesota. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971 with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Cabana is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and has logged over 7,000 hours in 36 different aircraft.

After his selection as an astronaut candidate in June of 1985, Cabana completed his training in 1986. He has flown four space shuttle missions, serving as the pilot of Discovery missions STS-41 in October 1990 and STS-53 in December 1992, commander of Columbia on STS-65 in July 1994, and commander of Endeavour on STS-88 – the first International Space Station assembly mission – in December 1998.

Before being named the director at Stennis in October 2007, Cabana served as deputy director of Johnson. In addition, Cabana has worked as chief of NASA’s Astronaut Office; manager of international operations of the International Space Station Program; director of NASA’s Human Space Flight Program in Russia; deputy director of the International Space Station Program; and director of Flight Crew Operations.

“Bob Cabana is long-time colleague, and another whose marine training has redounded to NASA’s benefit,” Griffin said. “Bob has seen it all and done it all in human spaceflight, and done it with an open, collaborative style. There is just no better teammate. He will be a terrific successor to Bill Parsons as Director of KSC.”

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