The head of NASA’s human space flight service resigned on Tuesday as astronauts prepared for their first launch in a decade from US soil.
Douglas Loverro, associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Exploitation Mission Directorate, has only been here for seven months.
Lovero said he was leaving NASA “with a very, very heavy heart” after making an unspecified “mistake” he made during his brief tenure, according to a letter to the space agency.
Members of Congress were worried about his sudden departure and how this could affect the maiden voyage for next Wednesday of two astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
Douglas Loverro, associate administrator of NASA’s Human Mission Research and Operations Directorate, abruptly resigned a week before astronauts prepared for their first launch in a decade from US soil.
Loverro has announced its departure to staff as two astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule are due to launch next Wednesday
“During my long government career of more than four and a half decades, I have always found it true that sometimes as leaders we are called to take risks,” Loverro wrote in the letter, POLITICO reported.
Previously, Loverro worked in the secret National Intelligence Office, which builds and launches military satellites.
“The risks we take, technically, politically or personally, have potential consequences if we judge them incorrectly. I took such a risk earlier in the year because I felt it was necessary to carry out our mission. Now, in the balance of time, it is clear that I made a mistake in this choice, for which I myself have to bear the consequences. “
Loverro officially resigned. However, two industry officials told POLITICO that he had been fired by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein.
But Loverro still insisted that his resignation was not the result of a disagreement with Bridenstein, he told POLITICO. His departure is also not due to safety concerns from the upcoming launch. He refused to offer specifics about his “mistake”.
Loverro took over in October from his predecessor, William Gerstenmeier, who was downgraded and would eventually leave NASA.
Bridenstein praised Loverro’s work, saying in a note to employees that “he has brought us closer to achieving our goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the moon in 2024.”
Loverro officially resigned. However, two industry representatives claim that he was expelled by NASA administrator Jim Bridenstein (pictured)
Alarmed members of Congress are demanding more information about his departure, especially since he arrived about a week before the maiden voyage of two astronauts aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule next Wednesday.
“I am deeply concerned about this sudden resignation, especially given its timing,” said Kendra Horn, a Democrat from Oklahoma who also chairs the space subcommittee of the Science, Space and Technology Committee. “, Said in a statement.
“Under this administration, we saw a pattern of abrupt departures that disrupted our country’s efforts in manned spaceflight,” she wrote.
Congress is demanding more information on Loverro’s departure after arriving about a week before the maiden voyage of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule next Wednesday. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Crew Dragon capsule took off on a test flight
Reporter Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the research group, was “shocked” by the news that Loverro was gone.
“I believe that NASA Administrator Bridenstein will ensure that the right decision is made whether to delay the launch or not,” she said.
“Furthermore, Mr Loverro’s resignation is another worrying indication that the Artemis Luna-Mars initiative is not yet firmly established,” she added. “I look forward to clarifying to NASA the reasons for this latest personnel action.”
Next week’s voyage to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, Florida will be the first from the United States since the withdrawal of the space shuttle program in 2011.
Next week’s voyage to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral in Florida will be the first from the United States since the withdrawal of the space shuttle program in 2011. Pictured is the unmanned SpaceX Dragon approaching the International Space Station last year
Pictured is the unmanned SpaceX Dragon successfully docked at the International Space Station last year
Next week’s launch of the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, Florida, will be the first in the United States since the retirement of the space shuttle program in 2011.
NASA was the mother of Loverro’s departure Tuesday, and SpaceX did not return multiple requests for comment.
Former astronaut Ken Bowersox is to replace Loverro in acting.
Bowersox has flown into space six times and is now a deputy assistant administrator in the human space flight office.