Long-serving Nasa boss demoted as Trump grows impatient over moon mission

Eloise Marshall
July 13, 2019

William Gerstenmaier, a NASA veteran, has been demoted.

Bill Gerstenmaier, then Deputy Manager of the International Space Station (ISS) Program, at the forward console during the STS-97 mission.

In his memo, Bridenstine said the leadership reshuffle was in line with the ambitious Artemis programme - an effort to send a man and the first-ever woman to the moon within the next five years, and named Kenneth Bowersox, a former NASA astronaut, as the new acting associate administrator.

On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 was launched into space and on July 20, it landed the first two humans on the Moon - Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module Eagle's pilot Buzz Aldrin.

"I sometimes think the three of us missed "the big event".

Officials also told the newspaper that there was tension between Bridenstine and Gerstenmaier.

Gerstenmaier began his career with NASA in 1977 doing aeronautical research.

Autographed photographs from the mission will also go under the hammer as well as other items from the mission - some containing moon dust. "It is the stated policy of this administration and the United States of America to return American astronauts to the moon within the next five years".

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Johnson said that amid the challenges that come with the moonshot project, removing experienced leaders at NASA appears to be an ill-guided decision.

"NASA has always been fortunate to have great talent that has served our country well", Bridenstine wrote. At the time, they were an engineer, a flight director and an astronaut.

In a memo addressed to the space agency's employees, Bridenstine explained that the leadership change is a bid to meet the challenges of the upcoming 2024 moon mission.

Gerstenmaier appeared to favor test firing the mammoth rocket's first stage, powered by four upgraded space shuttle main engines, at NASA's Stennis Space Center in MS next year to make sure the booster met its design specifications.

The new timeline gives NASA only five years to assemble the hardware and funds it requires.

Artemis would be NASA's first attempt to land humans to the moon since the last Apollo landing in 1972.

The hardware that NASA needs is either delayed, way over budget or doesn't yet exist.

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