NASA human spaceflight chief resigns ahead of launch

Ken Bowersox, NASA’s deputy associate administrator, and a former astronaut will take his place


Reuters May 20, 2020
This image made available by NASA shows astronaut Anne McClain working on March 22, 2019, on the International Space Station's Port-4 truss structure during a six-hour, 39-minute spacewalk to upgrade the orbital complex's power storage capacity. PHOTO: AFP

NASA’s human spaceflight chief Doug Loverro has resigned, according to an internal memo seen by agency employees on Tuesday, just a week before the agency is scheduled to launch two astronauts into space from US soil for the first time since 2011.

The resignation capped Loverro’s brief role at the agency overseeing future astronaut launches and landing humans on the moon by 2024.

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“Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Doug Loverro has resigned from his position effective Monday, May 18,” said the memo sent to employees on Tuesday and seen by Reuters.

It added that Ken Bowersox, NASA’s deputy associate administrator, and a former astronaut, would take Loverro’s place until a permanent replacement is found.

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A NASA spokeswoman declined to comment.

In an email to colleagues seen by Reuters, Loverro said his departure was “because of my personal actions,” citing without more explanation “risks” he took to meet the agency’s 2024 moon deadline.

“It is clear that I made a mistake in that choice for which I alone must bear the consequences.”

Loverro took the post last October to helm NASA’s efforts to return humans to the lunar surface by 2024, a hastened timeline set by the Trump administration in 2019.

 

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