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OLSON THANKS DIRECTOR COATS FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE, CONGRATULATES ELLEN OCHOA ON HER NEW ROLE

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today thanked and congratulated Johnson Space Center (JSC) Director Mike Coats upon learning of his retirement at the end of the year:

"I cannot thank Director Coats enough for his exceptional leadership of JSC and the tremendous people who serve NASA in Houston. Since his tenure began in 2005, Mike has overseen a tumultuous transition for JSC with the closing of the shuttle program and the shuttering of the Constellation program. His steady leadership and strong expertise will be greatly missed. Houston thanks you for your service - America's space program has benefited from your commitment. Best wishes on the next steps in your life with your wonderful wife Diane, your two children, Laura and Paul, and your twin grandchildren.

"While Mike will be deeply missed, I was pleased to hear that Deputy Director Ellen Ochoa will step up as the new Director of JSC. Ellen is a strong leader at JSC and understands the challenges and goals that face the JSC community as it transitions from the shuttle program to Orion and continues to lead the International Space Station. NASA and America's space program are still transitioning, and I will continue to do all I can to help Ellen and JSC and ensure that America remains a global leader in human space exploration. Ellen's experience as an astronaut and Deputy Director make her uniquely qualified to fill this new role.

"Thank you to Mike Coats for your service and best of luck in retirement. From one sailor to another, may you have fair winds and following seas. Congratulations to Ellen Ochoa on your new leadership role. The Johnson Space Center community has and will continue to benefit from both of you."

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Media Contact: Melissa Kelly

202-225-5951