All About Space
NASA human spaceflight chief makes no guarantees on return to Moon
Putting astronauts back on the Moon by 2024 will be no small feat, and NASA’s new human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders has been careful not to make any promises. “I don’t have a crystal ball,” Lueders said when asked about the feasibility of a 2024 Moon landing. “I wish I knew that answer. That’d make my job a lot easier. We’re going to try.”
Lueders, who recently became the associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate after Doug Loverro’s abrupt resignation, was a bit more pragmatic about the timeline of NASA’s Artemis program than her predecessor. While Lueders seems cautiously optimistic about getting astronauts to the Moon by 2024, Loverro was confident and unwavering in his assertion that NASA would make the deadline. At a NASA town hall in
December Loverro even said that “it is going to be easy to make this happen”.
Before Lueders became the head of human spaceflight at NASA she served as the manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Those missions have faced years of delays and other challenges. When NASA created its Commercial Crew Program in 2010, the agency planned to have its astronauts regularly riding private vessels to and from the space station by 2015. Now, five years later, the first commercial crew mission has only just arrived at the orbiting lab.
“It’s very important to have an aggressive goal,” Lueders said in a teleconference on 18 June. “We had an aggressive goal in Commercial Crew, and I think that aggressive goal ensured that we were able to accomplish things as quickly as we could.”