Author Topic: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase  (Read 12978 times)

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Old thread for Kathy Leuders updates and discussion: Kathy Lueders: new Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations.  That thread now includes the news of her recent retirement from NASA.

Post updates and discussion of her new job in this thread.



https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1658127208932679681

Quote
Scoop – @KathyLueders, former top NASA human spaceflight official, joined SpaceX, according to CNBC sources.

Lueders is based at Starbase in Texas and will report directly to president & COO Gwynne Shotwell:

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/15/elon-musks-spacex-hires-former-nasa-official-kathy-lueders.html
« Last Edit: 05/17/2023 03:00 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Tomness

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #1 on: 05/15/2023 03:14 pm »
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1658127208932679681

Quote
Scoop – @KathyLueders, former top NASA human spaceflight official, joined SpaceX, according to CNBC sources.

Lueders is based at Starbase in Texas and will report directly to president & COO Gwynne Shotwell:

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/15/elon-musks-spacex-hires-former-nasa-official-kathy-lueders.html

Gwen is a rock star for this grab. Bravo Gwen & Congrats 👏 Kathy

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #2 on: 05/15/2023 03:28 pm »
Gwynne, not Gwen, but yup.

It should be noted that SpaceX now directly employs almost as many people as NASA. Over 12,000 SpaceX employees and under 18,000 NASA civil servants.

If you count only space related civil servants (not aeronautics or Earth science, etc), SpaceX probably has more employees.
« Last Edit: 05/15/2023 03:31 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #3 on: 05/15/2023 03:45 pm »
Awesome news.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #4 on: 05/15/2023 03:49 pm »
It strikes me as a tone change at Starbase. No longer cowboy rocketry and exploding prototypes but a maturing space launch system with adults in charge. Scarily competent adults (who also aren’t bought into “defense contractors always know best”).
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #5 on: 05/15/2023 04:11 pm »
It strikes me as a tone change at Starbase. No longer cowboy rocketry and exploding prototypes but a maturing space launch system with adults in charge. Scarily competent adults (who also aren’t bought into “defense contractors always know best”).

Agree on the steady maturation of the program. It was inevitable once they progressed far enough.

Not sure who the “adults” above are being juxtaposed against, though. There always has been - and will be - only one person in charge overall. A person who happens to trust and respect Gwynne and, from what I read, Kathy too, greatly.

What an awesome team.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #6 on: 05/15/2023 04:30 pm »
I meant managing Starbase in particular, not the overall company.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #7 on: 05/15/2023 04:50 pm »
Kathy Leuders and Gwynne Shotwell are, I think, almost exactly the same age, about 59. They probably will get along well.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #8 on: 05/15/2023 04:56 pm »
Interesting.  Would she be on the payload/ship side rather than the rocket side?  As in, she would not be in charge of all of Starbase.

Online mn

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #9 on: 05/15/2023 05:06 pm »
IIRC it was Kathy that got SpaceX the CRS contract, which essentially saved SpaceX at the time.

It could be fair to say without Kathy SpaceX may not have survived.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/04/without-nasa-there-would-be-no-spacex-and-its-brilliant-boat-landing/

Quote
That fall and early winter marked the darkest hours for the cash-strapped Musk, as both SpaceX and Tesla spent hundreds of millions of dollars on development, with little revenue to show for it ... The economy worsened that fall, and by December, Musk's money had run out and he'd tapped all the loans he could.

Then, two days before Christmas of 2008, NASA announced it was awarding commercial cargo contracts to Orbital Sciences  for 19 flights and SpaceX for 12 flights ... That contract allowed SpaceX to finish the Falcon 9 rocket and build the Dragon spacecraft

Offline Jim

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #10 on: 05/15/2023 05:15 pm »
Gwynne, not Gwen, but yup.

It should be noted that SpaceX now directly employs almost as many people as NASA. Over 12,000 SpaceX employees and under 18,000 NASA civil servants.

If you count only space related civil servants (not aeronautics or Earth science, etc), SpaceX probably has more employees.

But you can't compare just civil servants.  NASA uses contractors not just to do the actual hands on work with flight hardware.  NASA has contractors in HR, IT, janitorial, facility maintenance, security, fire and rescue, program office support, etc

For example, LSP has around 160 civil servant but with contractor support it is around 550.

Offline chopsticks

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #11 on: 05/15/2023 05:23 pm »
Gwynne, not Gwen, but yup.

It should be noted that SpaceX now directly employs almost as many people as NASA. Over 12,000 SpaceX employees and under 18,000 NASA civil servants.

If you count only space related civil servants (not aeronautics or Earth science, etc), SpaceX probably has more employees.

But you can't compare just civil servants.  NASA uses contractors not just to do the actual hands on work with flight hardware.  NASA has contractors in HR, IT, janitorial, facility maintenance, security, fire and rescue, program office support, etc

For example, LSP has around 160 civil servant but with contractor support it is around 550.
Doesn't SpaceX do the same though? If I understand right, there are a lot of subcontractors that SpaceX uses as well, for example the concrete pouring and the pile driving at the launch site currently.

I might be wrong though, down clarification would be nice.

Really cool about Kathy, BTW.

Offline Jim

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #12 on: 05/15/2023 05:46 pm »
Doesn't SpaceX do the same though? If I understand right, there are a lot of subcontractors that SpaceX uses as well, for example the concrete pouring and the pile driving at the launch site currently.

I might be wrong though, down clarification would be nice.

Really cool about Kathy, BTW.

Nobody does construction in house.  I am talking about running a facility and launching rockets.

Offline chopsticks

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #13 on: 05/15/2023 06:04 pm »
Doesn't SpaceX do the same though? If I understand right, there are a lot of subcontractors that SpaceX uses as well, for example the concrete pouring and the pile driving at the launch site currently.

I might be wrong though, down clarification would be nice.

Really cool about Kathy, BTW.

Nobody does construction in house.  I am talking about running a facility and launching rockets.
Oh, I see. Thanks.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #14 on: 05/15/2023 07:55 pm »
Gwynne, not Gwen, but yup.

It should be noted that SpaceX now directly employs almost as many people as NASA. Over 12,000 SpaceX employees and under 18,000 NASA civil servants.

If you count only space related civil servants (not aeronautics or Earth science, etc), SpaceX probably has more employees.

But you can't compare just civil servants.  NASA uses contractors not just to do the actual hands on work with flight hardware.  NASA has contractors in HR, IT, janitorial, facility maintenance, security, fire and rescue, program office support, etc

For example, LSP has around 160 civil servant but with contractor support it is around 550.
Well aware, but good point. SpaceX also has contractors for some of that stuff, but not to the same extent that NASA does.

My point was just that SpaceX is a huge employer now, the biggest US employer in human spaceflight outside of NASA.

Not terribly surprising she would be hired there, just due to raw numbers.
« Last Edit: 05/15/2023 08:01 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #15 on: 05/15/2023 10:35 pm »
<snip>
Quote
Scoop – @KathyLueders, former top NASA human spaceflight official, joined SpaceX, according to CNBC sources.

Lueders is based at Starbase in Texas and will report directly to president & COO Gwynne Shotwell:

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/15/elon-musks-spacex-hires-former-nasa-official-kathy-lueders.html

Heh, I predicted Lueders will joined SpaceX when she retired from NASA.

Wonder how long before Kathy Lueders join Bill Gerstenmaier at SpaceX?

Thinking about it. It seems Lueders probably have a deal with SpaceX before the retirement announcement. Since the news of her joining SpaceX is only 15 days after her retirement from NASA.  ;)
« Last Edit: 05/16/2023 12:35 am by Zed_Noir »

Offline Hamish.Student

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #16 on: 05/16/2023 02:12 am »
Quote
Kathy Lueders, the most recent top human spaceflight official at NASA, has joined Elon Musk’s SpaceX after retiring from the agency a couple of weeks ago, CNBC has learned.

Lueders’ role will be general manager, and she will work out of the company’s “Starbase” facility in Texas, reporting directly to SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell, people familiar with the matter told CNBC.

It’s a key hire for SpaceX as the company aims to make its massive Starship rocket safe to fly people in the coming years. Lueders, a respected expert in the sector, is already familiar with the company’s human spaceflight work to date.

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/15/elon-musks-spacex-hires-former-nasa-official-kathy-lueders.html

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #17 on: 05/16/2023 04:23 am »
Being discussed here: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=58523.msg2469962#msg2469962

[zubenelgenubi: Three threads merged.]
« Last Edit: 05/17/2023 02:46 am by zubenelgenubi »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline Hamish.Student

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #18 on: 05/16/2023 04:30 am »
Being discussed here: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=58523.msg2469962#msg2469962
 
 
A strange location, I certainly couldn't find it. Surely as it is related to Starbase and Starship as a whole, it belongs in this section?

Offline DigitalMan

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #19 on: 05/16/2023 04:50 am »
Since Kathy's responsibilities managing Starbase are now different than the scope of Artemis HLS only, I would agree with it belonging here.

Online InterestedEngineer

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #20 on: 05/16/2023 04:57 am »
So what will she be working on?

Crew stuff for Starship?

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #21 on: 05/16/2023 11:32 am »
https://twitter.com/thesheetztweetz/status/1658127208932679681

Did she avoid revolving door restrictions by not working in the Space X Crew program?
« Last Edit: 05/17/2023 02:48 am by zubenelgenubi »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #22 on: 05/16/2023 02:02 pm »
So what will she be working on?

Crew stuff for Starship?

“Crew stuff” is pretty broad - I suspect her role will be broad and rather fuzzily-defined. She’ll have insight and input into everything from overall FMLA and statistical analysis efforts which will ultimately result in human-rating Starship for HLS; human-factors engineering for crew ingress/egress; accommodations and user interfaces; ECLSS design/reliability; etc.

Ex-astros have been part of private companies’ spacecraft design efforts in similar roles since at least Boeing’s work on Space Station Freedom/ISS in the late 80’s. There were one or two with offices in Huntsville when I was there decades ago, though they were rarely actually required to be on-site.

One wonders how much time she will actually spend in Boca Chica but as her work will be predominately offering insight and observation based on her career experience and knowledge, being in an air conditioned building in southeast Texas or wandering around the factory site with a hard hat are not likely to be the best uses of her time anyway.
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline woods170

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #23 on: 05/16/2023 02:10 pm »
Lueders is joining SpaceX, will report to Shotwell.

<snipped the Twitter link>

Did she avoid revolving door restrictions by not working in the Space X Crew program?

Correct.
She avoided revolving door restrictions in the same way Gerst did: at SpaceX they work on programs with no direct ties to their former jobs at NASA.

At NASA gerst was the top boss of all of HEOMD, with emphasis on SLS, Orion deep space exploration. At SpaceX he is the guy in charge of Build and Flight Reliability for CRS and CCP, which has nothing to do with SLS, Orion or the return to the Moon.

Kathy Lueders was top boss of Space Operations Mission Directorate and program manager of CCP (IOW: cargo and crew missions to the ISS). At SpaceX she will be the new boss of Starship vehicle development at Starbase. No ties with either CCP or Space Operations Mission Directorate because Starship is not involved in ISS operations.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2023 02:15 pm by woods170 »

Offline deadman1204

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #24 on: 05/16/2023 02:21 pm »
That revolving door keeps on swinging.

Everyone likes spaceX, but if this she had helped blue origin and then gone to work there, everyone would be crying foul.

Note: I don't mean to impune Luder's credentials or the work she has done. I think she made the right calls while working for NASA. However, this just feels a bit odd.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2023 02:21 pm by deadman1204 »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #25 on: 05/16/2023 02:42 pm »
That revolving door keeps on swinging.

Everyone likes spaceX, but if this she had helped blue origin and then gone to work there, everyone would be crying foul.

Note: I don't mean to impune Luder's credentials or the work she has done. I think she made the right calls while working for NASA. However, this just feels a bit odd.
SpaceX is a much larger employer than Blue. SpaceX employs nearly as many people as there are civil servants at NASA, and it has flown more crew to space than any US company since Shuttle retired and the only US company to fly people to orbit at all since Shuttle. It’s not odd, it’s statistically more likely to be SpaceX than any other company involved in human spaceflight. They’re the preeminent human spaceflight company in the world.

I don’t think people, other than a handful of trolls, would cry foul if she would’ve ended up at Blue, and I don’t think the fictional response of some trolls is a good enough reason to troll oneself.

As far as the contract for HLS, all the GAO and lawsuit scrutiny kind of did a favor to Kathy as now it has passed the most detailed review and found to be solid.
« Last Edit: 05/16/2023 02:55 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline Oersted

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #26 on: 05/16/2023 05:34 pm »
Doesn't the US have revolving door rules?

I love KL for choosing Starship for the Moon mission, but it does look a bit weird to go directly to SpaceX after giving it a huge contract. 
« Last Edit: 05/16/2023 05:34 pm by Oersted »

Online mn

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #27 on: 05/16/2023 06:13 pm »
<snip>
Quote
Scoop – @KathyLueders, former top NASA human spaceflight official, joined SpaceX, according to CNBC sources.

Lueders is based at Starbase in Texas and will report directly to president & COO Gwynne Shotwell:

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/15/elon-musks-spacex-hires-former-nasa-official-kathy-lueders.html

Heh, I predicted Lueders will joined SpaceX when she retired from NASA.

Wonder how long before Kathy Lueders join Bill Gerstenmaier at SpaceX?

Thinking about it. It seems Lueders probably have a deal with SpaceX before the retirement announcement. Since the news of her joining SpaceX is only 15 days after her retirement from NASA.  ;)

There were many days between the announcement and her actual retirement.

Online mn

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #28 on: 05/16/2023 06:16 pm »
Doesn't the US have revolving door rules?

I love KL for choosing Starship for the Moon mission, but it does look a bit weird to go directly to SpaceX after giving it a huge contract.

https://www.justice.gov/jmd/leaving-government

Quote
The post-government employment statute, 18 U.S.C. § 207, does not prohibit former Federal employees from working for any particular employer (although other authorities may limit permissible compensation), but it does restrict what former Federal employees can do for their new employers

Edit to add: The CRS contract was awarded nearly 15 years ago, (hard to believe it was that long).
« Last Edit: 05/16/2023 06:21 pm by mn »

Offline VaBlue

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #29 on: 05/16/2023 06:18 pm »
Doesn't the US have revolving door rules?

Yes, there are such rules involving ethics.  And honestly, I don't know how people get around them!  Technically, she cannot work for SpaceX in any area where she 'determined' any financial award to/for SpaceX for 1 year after retirement.  (The actual wording may be slightly different...)  So if she's managing the Starship program, she would be in some type of violation pretty clearly.  But if she's managing Starbase, and has no operational authority over Starship, she may well be fine.  I suspect there is some form of work rule in place so that she is technically within the rule of law.  I mean, isn't that the reason corporate lawyers have a job, anyway?

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #30 on: 05/16/2023 06:30 pm »
Doesn't the US have revolving door rules?

Yes, there are such rules involving ethics.  And honestly, I don't know how people get around them!  Technically, she cannot work for SpaceX in any area where she 'determined' any financial award to/for SpaceX for 1 year after retirement.  (The actual wording may be slightly different...)  So if she's managing the Starship program, she would be in some type of violation pretty clearly.  But if she's managing Starbase, and has no operational authority over Starship, she may well be fine.  I suspect there is some form of work rule in place so that she is technically within the rule of law.  I mean, isn't that the reason corporate lawyers have a job, anyway?

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/41/2104

Since being moved to HEO, did she have any involvement in any contracts to SpaceX?

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #31 on: 05/16/2023 08:21 pm »
Doesn't the US have revolving door rules?

Yes, there are such rules involving ethics.  And honestly, I don't know how people get around them!  Technically, she cannot work for SpaceX in any area where she 'determined' any financial award to/for SpaceX for 1 year after retirement.  (The actual wording may be slightly different...)  So if she's managing the Starship program, she would be in some type of violation pretty clearly.  But if she's managing Starbase, and has no operational authority over Starship, she may well be fine.  I suspect there is some form of work rule in place so that she is technically within the rule of law.  I mean, isn't that the reason corporate lawyers have a job, anyway?
She was moved to a different part of NASA when HEOMD was split, and that was about a year and a half ago. She was basically demoted at that time, more than a year ago. And that also opened up an opportunity now for her to work at Starbase.
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Offline Oersted

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #32 on: 05/16/2023 10:19 pm »
Ok, got it, thanks!

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #33 on: 05/17/2023 04:44 pm »
I sometimes get really frustrated. We are at a fork in the road for the human species. A “once the lifetime of a civilization” inflection point. Why can people not see that?

1000 years from now our descendents on Mars or around Alpha Centauri won’t care about some ancient revolving door rule, or a long forgotten environmental complaint, or social media dispute from the early 21st century.

They will just remember that Starship opened the heavens up for humanity.

Heck, if the Pope can help move the Starship program forward, I say find a way to get him out of the Vatican and onto Starbase pronto. Revolving door policies or not.

Offline deadman1204

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #34 on: 05/17/2023 09:08 pm »
I sometimes get really frustrated. We are at a fork in the road for the human species. A “once the lifetime of a civilization” inflection point. Why can people not see that?

1000 years from now our descendents on Mars or around Alpha Centauri won’t care about some ancient revolving door rule, or a long forgotten environmental complaint, or social media dispute from the early 21st century.

They will just remember that Starship opened the heavens up for humanity.

Heck, if the Pope can help move the Starship program forward, I say find a way to get him out of the Vatican and onto Starbase pronto. Revolving door policies or not.
Being at an important point makes it MORE important to do things correctly. Because what happens now will impact future things. If we cut corners now, that will set the precedent for the future for example.

The ends never justify the means.

Online Herb Schaltegger

Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #35 on: 05/17/2023 09:12 pm »
I sometimes get really frustrated. We are at a fork in the road for the human species. A “once the lifetime of a civilization” inflection point. Why can people not see that?

1000 years from now our descendents on Mars or around Alpha Centauri won’t care about some ancient revolving door rule, or a long forgotten environmental complaint, or social media dispute from the early 21st century.

They will just remember that Starship opened the heavens up for humanity.

Heck, if the Pope can help move the Starship program forward, I say find a way to get him out of the Vatican and onto Starbase pronto. Revolving door policies or not.
Being at an important point makes it MORE important to do things correctly. Because what happens now will impact future things. If we cut corners now, that will set the precedent for the future for example.

The ends never justify the means.

Besides which, revolving-door statutes, rules and regulations did not spring forth fully-formed from the foreheads of some busybodies in Washington for no good reason. They exist because historically when they did not, there were blatant conflicts of interest in all phases of government contracting and contracts administration. These rules and standards exist because human nature is what it is, and access to power and money tends to corruption in their absence.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #36 on: 05/17/2023 09:48 pm »
I don’t think someone like Kathy Leuders would be dumb enough to not have the legality of this figured out before signing on.

There are worker protections in place, too, that protect the right of people to find employment in their field. NASA doesn’t make you, and can’t make you, sign a non-compete agreement that would prevent her from seeking employment in her field once she’s no longer on the payroll.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #37 on: 05/17/2023 11:17 pm »
Kathy Lueders was top boss of Space Operations Mission Directorate and program manager of CCP (IOW: cargo and crew missions to the ISS). At SpaceX she will be the new boss of Starship vehicle development at Starbase. No ties with either CCP or Space Operations Mission Directorate because Starship is not involved in ISS operations.

If I'm understanding correctly, this seems pretty wild.  Gerst was given what seems a small organization and I've been impressed with what he has done -- the proof is in the pudding.  But boss of Starship vehicle development sounds like it is head of a much larger organization.  What hardware has she developed in the past?  I'm genuinely curious and a little skeptical of NASA bureaucrat types, not really knowing much about her specifically.  Is she that good?
« Last Edit: 05/17/2023 11:24 pm by RedLineTrain »

Online ulm_atms

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #38 on: 05/17/2023 11:29 pm »
Kathy Lueders was top boss of Space Operations Mission Directorate and program manager of CCP (IOW: cargo and crew missions to the ISS). At SpaceX she will be the new boss of Starship vehicle development at Starbase. No ties with either CCP or Space Operations Mission Directorate because Starship is not involved in ISS operations.

If I'm understanding correctly, this seems pretty wild.  Gerst was given what seems a small organization and I've been impressed with what he has done -- the proof is in the pudding.  But boss of Starship vehicle development sounds like it is head of a much larger organization.  What hardware has she developed in the past?  I'm genuinely curious and a little skeptical of NASA bureaucrat types, not really knowing much about her specifically.  Is she that good?
She is managing...not developing.  Those are two totally different skills.  IMO this is way more about NASA knowledge/connections more then anything else.  She knows the bureaucracy better then most.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #39 on: 05/17/2023 11:53 pm »
She is managing...not developing.  Those are two totally different skills.  IMO this is way more about NASA knowledge/connections more then anything else.  She knows the bureaucracy better then most.

It seemed to me that the brilliance of the Gerst hire was that it was not for his NASA knowledge/connections, at least directly.  He was not hired to a cushy VP job where he could focus on his golf game.  Rather, he was hired to a critical function where he was expected to perform in a SpaceX non-bureaucratic fashion.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #40 on: 05/18/2023 12:32 am »
Someone with long experience in the space field is brings a pretty valuable perspective to a company like SpaceX that is full of largely young engineers (although the company is now over 20 years old…).
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Online steveleach

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #41 on: 05/18/2023 07:36 am »
Someone with long experience in the space field is brings a pretty valuable perspective to a company like SpaceX that is full of largely young engineers (although the company is now over 20 years old…).
When I look at the crowds of employees in the launch live-streams I'm always amazed by how young most of them seem to be, but there are always a fair number of older employees in there as well (you notice them less because they tend to be more understated in their reactions).

I suspect SpaceX have managed to build a culture where the older employees value the younger ones for their drive and creativity, and the younger ones value the older ones for their calmness and experience.

Offline woods170

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #42 on: 05/18/2023 08:05 pm »
That revolving door keeps on swinging.

Everyone likes spaceX, but if this she had helped blue origin and then gone to work there, everyone would be crying foul.

Note: I don't mean to impune Luder's credentials or the work she has done. I think she made the right calls while working for NASA. However, this just feels a bit odd.

Did you issue a similar view when Gerst went to work for SpaceX?

Offline woods170

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #43 on: 05/18/2023 08:13 pm »
Doesn't the US have revolving door rules?

Yes, there are such rules involving ethics.  And honestly, I don't know how people get around them!  Technically, she cannot work for SpaceX in any area where she 'determined' any financial award to/for SpaceX for 1 year after retirement.  (The actual wording may be slightly different...)  So if she's managing the Starship program, she would be in some type of violation pretty clearly.  But if she's managing Starbase, and has no operational authority over Starship, she may well be fine.  I suspect there is some form of work rule in place so that she is technically within the rule of law.  I mean, isn't that the reason corporate lawyers have a job, anyway?

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/41/2104

Since being moved to HEO, did she have any involvement in any contracts to SpaceX?

Since HEOMD was split, Lueders only had involvement with the CRS and CCP contracts. Which she is NOT working on now that she is at SpaceX.

Lueders awarded HLS Option A to SpaceX in april 2021. That's over two years ago. But her involvement with HLS Starship ended 1.5 years ago, when HEOMD was split and Lueders was assigned to the part that runs only CRS and CCP. So, for the past 1.5 years, she has not had any involvement with Starship. As far as government rules go, she is in the clear because of that.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2023 08:25 pm by woods170 »

Offline woods170

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #44 on: 05/18/2023 08:24 pm »
Kathy Lueders was top boss of Space Operations Mission Directorate and program manager of CCP (IOW: cargo and crew missions to the ISS). At SpaceX she will be the new boss of Starship vehicle development at Starbase. No ties with either CCP or Space Operations Mission Directorate because Starship is not involved in ISS operations.

If I'm understanding correctly, this seems pretty wild.  Gerst was given what seems a small organization and I've been impressed with what he has done -- the proof is in the pudding.  But boss of Starship vehicle development sounds like it is head of a much larger organization.  What hardware has she developed in the past?  I'm genuinely curious and a little skeptical of NASA bureaucrat types, not really knowing much about her specifically.  Is she that good?
She is managing...not developing.  Those are two totally different skills.  IMO this is way more about NASA knowledge/connections more then anything else.  She knows the bureaucracy better then most.

Exactly. Lueders was hired because she knows how to manage a development program. Remember: she was program manager for CCP (mainly a development program in its first six years) and she was integration manager for COTS (which was 100% a development program). She also knows a thing or two about managing an ops organization: she managed the operational successor to COTS, which was CRS, which was mostly an ops program. After HEOMD was split she landed as manager in the program office responsible for running the operational CRS and CCP programs.

So, Lueders is well versed in running both development and operational programs. Her experience in both these fields is a major win for SpaceX, and will mostly lighten the burden for Gwynne Shotwell. The latter had a little too much on her plate in recent years.

Offline Negan

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #45 on: 05/18/2023 08:37 pm »
Kathy Lueders was top boss of Space Operations Mission Directorate and program manager of CCP (IOW: cargo and crew missions to the ISS). At SpaceX she will be the new boss of Starship vehicle development at Starbase. No ties with either CCP or Space Operations Mission Directorate because Starship is not involved in ISS operations.

Now it makes sense why SpaceX took the picture of Starship docking with ISS off their website. I'm sure it what just a concept anyway, but why muddy the waters.

Offline alugobi

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Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #46 on: 05/18/2023 08:41 pm »
That revolving door keeps on swinging.

Everyone likes spaceX
You don't.

Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #47 on: 09/13/2023 05:51 pm »
Hi Kathy! (From latest SpaceX tweet)

Re: Kathy Lueders hired as General Manager at Starbase
« Reply #48 on: 09/14/2023 03:55 pm »
Apparently Kathy was speaking this morning at SPI about starship, FAA license progress, etc. First time I think she has publically spoken since joining SpaceX. 2 videos posted on X by SpacePadre, they are downloadable below.

Edit: Total of 7 videos were posted (so far), I have edited them all together with short breaks in between clips.

https://x.com/SpacePadreIsle/status/1702328968500908412?s=20



« Last Edit: 09/14/2023 05:35 pm by spacenuance »

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