Director of Space Station Program Retires
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Richard H. Kohrs, who has directed NASA’s battered Space Station Freedom program during its most turbulent years, is retiring just as yet another plan is being drawn for the orbiting laboratory.
Kohrs, who has been with NASA for 30 years, struggled with multiple redesigns ordered for the space station as its costs grew and and congressional support waned.
His retirement, announced by NASA today, was accompanied by a tribute from Arnold Aldrich, an associate administrator, but not from administrator Daniel Goldin.
″Dick built a strong and effective program organization which stood the test despite the continuing annual cycles of reassessment and restructure,″ Aldrich said.
In March, when the House space committee was grilling NASA officials about a projected $1 billion cost overrun, Goldin sent a letter to committee members that appeared to be undercutting the testimony of his station managers, including Kohrs.
Goldin said that although station officials had been working diligently on the budget problems he was ″concerned with regards to the validity of the present cost and schedule estimates.″
The agency head also bypassed Kohrs in a major redesign effort early this year, putting another official in charge. The White House is expected to announce detailed plans for the station next week - plans that already are expected to change again because of a new cooperative space effort with Russia announced on Thursday.
Kohrs began his NASA career in 1963 and worked on the Apollo and space shuttle programs. He was appointed director of the Space Station Freedom program in June 1, 1989, with responsibility for the design, development and future operations of the space station.