NASA Head of Human Spaceflight Resigns Days Before Historic Manned Mission

Eloise Marshall
May 29, 2020

Bridenstine told FLORIDA TODAY that Behnken and Hurley are slated to depart Houston and arrive at Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, after which they will continue their coronavirus quarantine procedures - which began last week - ahead of liftoff.

Loverro's resignation came two days before he was to lead a critical "launch readiness review" meeting to determine whether private firm SpaceX should proceed to launch two NASA astronauts on a test mission to the International Space Station on May 27.

NASA's chief of human exploration has resigned just days before the first astronaut launch in almost a decade from Kennedy Space Center, citing a "mistake" he made taking "risks" to "fulfill our mission".

In a May 19 statement, NASA said that Loverro resigned from his position as associate administrator for human exploration and operations effective May 18.

News that Loverro was out erupted on Twitter late in the day, with space watchers noting that the timing couldn't be worse for NASA.

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

Astronauts Home Launch
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley during a test at a SpaceX processing facility AP

Behnken and Hurley are the NASA astronauts gearing up to ride SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, a new space taxi on a mission planned to last more than a month to help the short-handed crew aboard the International Space Station, the US space agency has said. Unfortunately, just a week before the historical launch, Loverro officially resigned from NASA.

"The risks we take, whether technical, political or personal, all have potential consequences if we judge them incorrectly", Loverro said.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

"I took such a risk earlier in the year because I judged it necessary to fulfil our mission". The letter goes on to say "I made a mistake in that choice for which I alone must bear the consequences".

The former human spaceflight chief also explained that he did not leave NASA due to a safety issue with the Crew Dragon capsule launch next week. The launch is scheduled for next week, on May 27. Programs related to the Artemis mission, specifically the Space Launch System development process, have received pointed criticism for overspending and delays, but they predate Loverro. "Let's make no mistake about it: We are now on our way", Loverro said at the announcement of the awards.

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He told Sky News: "The furlough scheme has been incredibly important in terms of keeping people on standby and ready to return to work".

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