NASA executive quits days ahead of launch
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.