Major shuffle at NASA in rush to meet Trump’s moon deadline

13 Juillet, 2019, 00:33 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Patrick Kennedy Rufus Wright and Jack Tarlton in 8 Days To the Moon and Back

NASA has shaken up it leadership ranks as the Trump administration pushes the agency to return to the moon.

NASA has replaced the head of its human space exploration directorate in a major shake-up, United States media reported on Wednesday, as the agency scrambles to meet President Donald Trump's ambitious deadline to return astronauts to the moon by 2024.

The biggest change to rock the agency is the demotion of Bill Gerstenmaier, who was leading the efforts to return humans to the lunar surface.

Gerstenmaier was ousted from his role hours after he testified before Congress on the future of the International Space Station and plans for low-Earth orbit.

Gerstenmeir has been with NASA since 1977.

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"In an effort to meet this challenge, I have decided to make leadership changes to the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate".

He placed Ken Bowersox, a former astronaut and vice president of astronaut safety and mission assurance for Elon Musk's SpaceX, as acting associate administrator for the human exploration wing.

Vice President Mike Pence earlier this year directed NASA to speed up its return to the moon dramatically - by four years, to 2024 - a move that took many in the agency by surprise.

In an email to employees obtained by The Washington Post, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Gerstenmaier would become a special assistant to Jim Morhard, the deputy administrator. Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator of human exploration, has also been reassigned as a special adviser to Steve Jurczyk, NASA's associate administrator.

Wednesday's shakeups are the latest as NASA aims to transform itself into "a leaner, more accountable and more agile organization", as Pence said in the March speech to the National Space Council.

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