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David Mould
Headquarters, Washington

Jessica Rye
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

RELEASE: 01-07



CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida gets new
leadership today as William W. Parsons assumes the role as the
facility's ninth director, succeeding James W. Kennedy, who is
retiring from the agency.

"I've known and worked with Jim Kennedy for well over a decade, and I
believe that no better appointment to the role of Kennedy Space
Center director could have been made in the aftermath of the Columbia
tragedy," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin at Headquarters in

"But as Jim retires, I think it is also true that we have in the

agency no better person to succeed him than Bill Parsons. Since my
return to NASA, Bill has become a valued friend as well as a key
colleague. His integrity and dedication to the job are obvious to all
who know him, and his prior experience provides an unmatched
background for his new role. He has been both a program manager and a
center director, and has the broadest possible knowledge of the NASA
human spaceflight community. He's the right person to take Kennedy
Space Center through the end of the shuttle era and into the era of
lunar exploration."

In September, Griffin named Parsons as Kennedy's successor. He has

served as the center's deputy director since February.

"It is a tremendous privilege to follow in the footsteps of

extraordinary people who have held the position of director of the
Kennedy Space Center," said Parsons. "Jim's strong technical
leadership and heartfelt love of the space program have served the
center well, and he will be truly missed as he begins this new
chapter in his life."

After the Columbia tragedy, Parsons led the Return to Flight

activities for the agency as Space Shuttle Program manager and played
a major role in the success of the Discovery STS-114 mission in 2005.
Parsons previously served as director of NASA's Stennis Space Center
in Mississippi. He was first assigned to Stennis in 1997 as the chief
of operations of the Propulsion Test Directorate. Parsons moved to
NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to become the director of the
Center Operations Directorate and later served as that center's
deputy director. He returned to Stennis in 2001 where he was director
of the Center Operations and Support Directorate and was named center
director in August 2002.

In 1990, Parsons joined the NASA team at Kennedy Space Center as a

launch site support manager in the Shuttle Operations Directorate. He
also worked as an executive management intern and later as the
shuttle flow director of the Shuttle Operations Directorate at
Kennedy. In 1996, he became manager of the Space Station Hardware
Integration Office at Kennedy.

"The thousands of people who make up the team at Kennedy are the most
talented and dedicated group of professionals I have had the honor to
work with," said Parsons. "I look forward to the future and being a
part of completing the International Space Station and launching the
vehicles that will take us back to the moon."

Parsons has received numerous honors, including the Presidential Rank

Award (Meritorious Executive); NASA's Exceptional Service Medal and
Distinguished Service Medal; and the Silver Snoopy, awarded by
astronauts for outstanding performance in flight safety and mission

Parsons holds a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University

of Mississippi, Oxford, and a master's degree in engineering
management from the University of Central Florida, Orlando. He
resides on Merritt Island, Fla., with his wife and two children.

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