Some commentary about Sean O’Keefe’s legacy and the search for his successor is making its way onto the editorial pages:
- The Orlando Sentinel blandly concludes that O’Keefe “had ups and downs” (who doesn’t?), and that “history’s final verdict” on his tenure will depend on the ultimate success of efforts to “solve NASA’s cultural problems and safely return shuttles to flight.”
- Cragg Hines, the Houston Chronicle columnist who called for O’Keefe’s resignation on Sunday, just as news of O’Keefe’s plans leaked out, now says “goodbye and good riddance” to O’Keefe in a new column Wednesday. Hines says he is not a fan of one candidate for the job, Ronald Kadish, because he believes that Kadish cannot provide the “maximum transparency and honesty and believability” the agency now needs. He is more of a fan of Robert Walker.
- The Los Angeles Times says that O’Keefe’s successor will face challenges like “finding students with the right stuff” to replace retiring engineers and scientists as well as be able “to make politically difficult decisions” by setting priorities for the agency. It’s clear the Times’ editorial writers are not fond of the Vision for Space Exploration, claiming that by “lavishing billions on nostalgically rich but scientifically poor missions like returning astronauts to the moon, the budget starves NASA of funding for projects with abundant scientific worth.” It seems unlikely, though, that any of the potential candidates to replace O’Keefe would, or would even be able to, reverse course on the Vision.