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STS-114 Astronaut Charles Camarda, JSC Engineering Director, Fired

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collectSPACE:
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(collectSPACE.com/SPACE.com) Less than a year after his first spaceflight and just one week shy of his helping to lead another from the ground, Charles Camarda has been fired from his position as Director, Engineering at NASA Johnson Space Center.

In an e-mail written by Camarda and obtained by collectSPACE, the astronaut praised his colleagues' preparation for STS-121 and offered his regrets that he would "not be there with my team" when Discovery launches July 1.

Camarda did not fully explain what led to his request to be let go, but wrote that he "cannot accept the methods I believe are being used by this Center to select future leaders." In addition to personnel concerns, Camarda wrote that he refused to "abandon" his position on the STS-121 Mission Management Team and asked that if he was not allowed to work the mission, that "I would have to be fired from my position and I was."

Sources inside the agency said that were surprised by the announcement and how quickly his reassignment was posted.

According to his letter, Camarda was offered another position and he planned to "continue to support this Agency which I love and be a good team member."

Subsequent to Camarda's e-mail being sent, a personnel announcement signed by JSC Director Michael Coats confirmed Camarda's re-assignment to the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC), an independent organization based at Langley Reseach Center in Virginia and chartered in the wake of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

Steve Altemus, deputy director under Camarda, replaced the astronaut as Director, effective immediately.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Camarda flew as a mission specialist on last year's return to flight mission, STS-114 and has logged over 333 hours in space.

Copyright 2006 collectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.

psloss:
Wow.

Chris Bergin:
Double Wow. Hell of a story you have there, Robert.

astrobrian:
whoa man, what exactly brought this on, esspecially right before the flight?

mong':
man, that's big.
is that what you get for taking a stand ? :(

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