The The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has appointed, the official who managed the inaugural private crewed flight into space last month as the first female head of human spaceflight, the agency said on Friday, as it prepares to return people to the Moon in 2024.
“Kathy Lueders has been selected to lead @NASA’s Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate,” NASA head Jim Bridenstine announced on Twitter.
Kathy Lueders has been selected to lead @NASA’s Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate. Kathy has successfully managed both the Commercial Crew & Commercial Cargo programs and is the right person to lead HEO as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon in 2024. pic.twitter.com/393vPTdXwb
— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) June 12, 2020
“Kathy has successfully managed both the Commercial Crew & Commercial Cargo programs and is the right person to lead HEO as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon in 2024,” he added.
While the official statement by NASA says,“Kathy gives us the extraordinary experience and passion we need to continue to move forward with Artemis and our goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024,” said Bridenstine.
“She has a deep interest in developing commercial markets in space, dating back to her initial work on the space shuttle program. From Commercial Cargo and now Commercial Crew, she has safely and successfully helped push to expand our nation’s industrial base. Kathy’s the right person to extend the space economy to the lunar vicinity and achieve the ambitious goals we’ve been given,” the statement added.
Lueders, oversaw the May 30 launch of two astronauts on a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station, the first ever crewed commercial flight into space.
She joined NASA in 1992 and has for years been in charge of the exhaustive testing program for space capsules developed by SpaceX, Boeing and other companies that are partnering with NASA to build vessels that can safely take humans into space.
“You can never sell this NASA and SpaceX team short, they’ve accomplished miracles for me,” Lueders said in a briefing before last month’s launch.
NASA had launched the program to develop commercial space flight, a decade ago under the administration of then-president Barack Obama, marking a dramatic change for the space agency, which had previously designed and built its own rockets and space vehicles.
Under President Donald Trump’s administration, NASA’s schedule aims to put two astronauts, including the first woman, on the Moon in 2024 using the heavy SLS rocket and the Orion capsule.
Meanwhile, the program is running behind schedule as for the making of Moon lander, the space agency has not decided yet zeroed on the name of any company as yet.