Mountain View Voice

News - September 14, 2012

Tiff brews between NASA Ames and NASA HQ

by Daniel DeBolt

Those working to save Moffett Field's historic Hangar One have taken note of reports that Pete Worden, the director of Mountain View's NASA Ames Research Center, may be on his way out.

"Multiple sources report that NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden is planning to fire or reassign Worden and two other center directors as well," reported longtime NASA watchdog Keith Cowing of

William Berry, former assistant director at Ames, said the report was a backdrop for the fight to save Hangar One, calling it "clear indication that NASA HQ wants to fire Pete Worden in some part for his support of Hangar One."

Worden has spoken publicly in support of reusing the former airship hangar for a modern airship being developed by the U.S. Department of Defense.

In response to the Voice's query, a spokesperson at Ames said in an email that "Dr. Worden does not have a comment on the story."

Two other center directors could be ousted as well, though the "real focus" is on Worden, Cowing's Aug. 22 report said.

Cowing also reported that some sources say that Bolden has discussed replacing the directors of the Glen Research Center in Ohio (Ray Lugo) and the Johnson Space Center in Houston (Mike Coats) though neither have done anything to warrant replacement.

Several comments in Cowing's story express favor for Worden and his success in partnering with Silicon Valley businesses, which include Google.

"Pete Worden always joked about wanting to do such far-out stuff he'd get fired," writes a poster by the name of William Ogilvie. "He is well liked, has accomplished a lot, and will be missed. Six years is a long time at any job in Silicon Valley."

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Posted by GC, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Someone pissed off NASA. They flew the Endeavour on the wrong side of the air strip. Over half the audience could only see Hanger 1 as the Shuttle passed by on it's historical flight. Or was it pilot error?

Posted by Member, a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2012 at 9:04 am

I think the real problem with Worden is that the employees did not embrace him. He has a history or bullying and appointing outsiders (mostly younger) to key positions at the expense of the career civil servants.

Here are the rankings:

Web Link

ARC is rated 105 overall and is the lowest of all NASA Centers via the employee viewpoint survey. NASA ARC jumps up to 15th for the younger employees. It drops to 138 for the older employees.