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Upgraded: William Parsons

Stennis Director Gets Hot Seat in Shuttle Program

Since Shuttle director Ron Dittemore announced his imminent retirement April 23, the short list of likely successors has been whittled down, and now there's just one: William Parsons.

Parsons, 47, has been director at NASA's Stennis facility in Mississippi since the retirement of Roy Estess on August 25 of 2001. He's a Marine, and an engineer. He joined NASA in 1990. He will work with the retiring Dittemore for a short time, and take over entirely when Mr D leaves, in a few weeks.

He said he knows what the new job could entail, and he enters it, he said, "with a bit of trepidation." He continued, "This is a big challenge for me and I had to think through it," before accepting the position.

Apparently more a scientific than political mind, he was asked if the Shuttle program will continue. He's waiting, as are the rest of us, for the findings of the Columbia disaster board; but he said that, "If things need to be changed, we will change them."

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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