NASA ex­ec­u­tive quits days ahead of launch

Orlando Sentinel - - NATION & WORLD - By Mar­cia Dunn

chief of hu­man ex­plo­ration has re­signed just days be­fore the first as­tro­naut launch in nearly a decade from Kennedy Space Cen­ter. In an in­ter­view with the Wash­ing­ton Post, Douglas Loverro de­clined to dis­cuss the ex­act de­tails of why he re­signed.

“It had noth­ing to do with com­mer­cial crew,” he said, re­fer­ring to the launch sched­uled for May 27. “It had to do with mov­ing fast on Artemis, and I don’t want to char­ac­ter­ize it in any more de­tail than that.”

Artemis is NASA’s pro­gram to re­turn peo­ple to the moon. In April, NASA awarded Artemis con­tracts worth nearly $1 bil­lion com­bined, to teams led by Blue Ori­gin, Dy­net­ics, and to SpaceX.

NPR re­ported Loverro wrote a farewell mes­sage to NASA em­ploy­ees.

“I had truly looked for­ward to liv­ing the next fourNASA’s plus years with you as we re­turned Amer­i­cans to the sur­face of the moon and pre­pared for the long jour­ney be­yond. But that is not to be,” Loverro wrote, and that he stated he had taken “a risk” ear­lier in the year be­cause he judged it nec­es­sary to ful­fill the mis­sion, NPR re­ported.

“Now, over the bal­ance of time, it is clear that I made a mis­take in that choice for which I alone must bear the con­se­quences,” he wrote.

Loverro, whose res­ig­na­tion took ef­fect Mon­day, joined NASA last Oc­to­ber. He is a for­mer De­fense Depart­ment and Na­tional Re­con­nais­sance Of­fice man­ager, spe­cial­iz­ing in space se­cu­rity mat­ters for three decades. The space agency no­ti­fied em­ploy­ees of the news Tues­day.

NASA spokesman Bob Ja­cobs would only say Loverro de­cided to re­sign and, be­yond that, the agency can­not dis­cuss per­son­nel is­sues.

The an­nounce­ment came just eight days be­fore SpaceX at­tempts to launch its first as­tro­nauts un­der NASA’s com­mer­cial crew pro­gram.

Be­sides over­see­ing SpaceX and Boe­ing’s ef­fort to ferry NASA as­tro­nauts to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion, Loverro was in charge of NASA’s Artemis moon­land­ing pro­gram. Just 2 1⁄2 weeks ago, NASA an­nounced the three win­ning cor­po­rate teams that will de­velop lu­nar lan­ders for as­tro­nauts.

For­mer space shut­tle com­man­der Ken Bow­er­sox, Loverro’s deputy, will re­sume his role as act­ing as­so­ciate ad­min­is­tra­tor of hu­man ex­plo­ration and op­er­a­tions.

Loverro was to over­see the SpaceX Demo-2 Flight Readi­ness Re­view that be­gins Thurs­day ahead of next week’s launch at­tempt at Kennedy Space Cen­ter. That mis­sion’s two as­tro­nauts are slated to ar­rive to the space cen­ter to­day at 4 p.m.


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