Top NASA Official Visits Poker Flat Research Range

Release Date: 
Friday, August 8, 2003


NASA Administrator Honorable Sean O’Keefe made a special trip to Poker Flat Research Range Thursday to visit the NASA supported facility.

O’Keefe reports directly to the President of the United States as the leader of the NASA team and manager of the agency’s resources. NASA General Counsel Paul Pastorek accompanied O’Keefe and the two were given an extensive tour of the facility by Range Manager Greg Walker, and Associate Director Hans Nielsen.

O’Keefe said that he was most impressed with Poker Flat.

“It’s a complete package – launching and tracking,” said O’Keefe as he examined the rocket range and it’s capacity.

O’Keefe was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate. The President appointed him as the 10th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on December 21, 2001.

Poker Flat launches sounding rockets to study the aurora and is owned and operated by the University of Alaska, making it the only university-owned rocket range in the world. NASA technicians assist on-site with the rocket launching, tracking, data acquisition and recovery.

Images from O’Keefe’s visit to Poker Flat can be obtained by contacting the Geophysical Institute Information Office at (907) 474-7942.

Additional biographical information about Sean O’Keefe can be found at NASA’s Web site:

Glen Mahone, NASA Associate Administrator for Public Affairs: (202) 329-4711
Hans Nielsen, Geophysical Institute Associate Director: (907) 474-7414