A week before first astronaut launch from US in 9 years, NASA sees shakeup in leadership

Portrait, Douglas Loverro, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani) (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani, (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani))

HOUSTON – Just a week before NASA and SpaceX gear up to launch astronauts into space from American soil for the first time in nine years, NASA confirmed to KPRC 2 that there has been a shakeup in leadership.

Doug Loverro resigned from his position as associate administrator of Human Exploration and Operations, NASA confirmed Tuesday. His resignation was effective, as of Monday.

In a statement to KPRC 2, NASA said, “Loverro hit the ground running this year and has made significant progress in his time at NASA. His leadership of HEO has moved us closer to accomplishing our goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon in 2024.”

Loverro, who had a three-decade career with NASA, was appointed to the position in October 2019, succeeding Ken Bowersox who was acting associate administrator at the time.

Bowersox, a retired U.S. naval aviator will once again serve as the acting associate administrator due to Loverro’s departure. Bowersox has more than two decades of experience with NASA, the agency said.

“(Bowersox) is an accomplished astronaut and a veteran of five space shuttle missions and commander on the International Space Station. Bowersox has previously led HEO in a time of transition, and NASA has the right leadership in place to continue making progress on the Artemis and Commercial Crew programs,” NASA officials wrote.

It is unclear why Loverro has resigned so soon before the historic May 27 launch.

Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will launch in a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center next week.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.