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O'Keefe, Marburger discuss ISS and space policy
Posted: Wed, Jan 9, 2002, 8:17 AM ET (1317 GMT)
Sean O'Keefe (White House) NASA's new administrator and the President's science advisor both spoke with reporters Tuesday about the status of the space agency and its funding, but offered few specifics about future plans. In a breakfast meeting with reporters, NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe said that the space station's current budget problems are manageable, although he was "not wed to any [specific] solution" to the station's problems. He did say he was generally supportive of the recommendations made last year by an independent commission led by Thomas Young. O'Keefe also said he was open to more privatization of the agency's programs, including handing over the shuttle fleet to the United Space Alliance. In a separate meeting, John Marburger, director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, said ISS was "a troubled project" whose cost and management were in need of serious reform. Marburger hinted that if the ISS program cannot be reformed, "there are a lot worse things that could happen." Marburger told astronomers attending a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington this week that while the Bush Administration supports basic research, scientists will have to make more of an emphasis on explaining why their research is important, as the administration's emphasis will be on other fields of science and technology research.
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