Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, announced Monday she will retire from the agency at the end of April. Lueders’ current deputy and astronaut, Ken Bowersox, will become the new head of Space Operations, effective Monday, May 1.
Changes Ahead as NASA’s Human Spaceflight Head Plans RetirementKathryn Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, announced Monday she will retire from the agency at the end of April. Lueders’ current deputy and astronaut, Ken Bowersox, will become the new head of Space Operations, effective Monday, May 1. “Kathy is a tremendous public servant and a trailblazer, not only serving as the first woman to head space operations for NASA and the first woman to manage our human spaceflight program, but also championing a new way of doing business in low Earth orbit. The public-private commercial model Kathy and her team helped pioneer will return humanity to the Moon and prepare us for our next giant leap: the first crewed missions to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Ken has been instrumental to advancing NASA’s goals and missions in low-Earth orbit and beyond, and I know Space Operations will be in good hands under his leadership.”During her 31 years with the agency, Lueders provided strategic guidance for NASA’s human exploration of space, as well as operations that allow the agency to launch science missions to learn about Earth and the universe. Her efforts have helped NASA foster significant change in how it partners with American industry to support and expand research aboard the International Space Station – with crewed and cargo transportation to and from the station.Lueders started her NASA career at the White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she was the Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control Systems Depot manager. She quickly demonstrated her engineering expertise, leading her through positions in the International Space Station Program and eventually to serve as manager of the Commercial Crew Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida before joining NASA Headquarters in Washington.Her many honors include several NASA achievement awards, the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award, and the Distinguished Service Medal. In addition, she is a 2022 National Academy of Engineering member, a 2020 SpaceNews Government Leader of the Year, an inductee to the 2021 Space and Satellite Hall of Fame, and recipient of the 2021 American Astronomical Society Spaceflight Achievement Award, 2020 Woman in Aerospace Leadership Award, 2022 Space Pioneer Award by the National Space Society, and IAASS’ 2019 Leonardo da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award.Upon Lueders’ retirement, Bowersox will take lead for the mission directorate. His operations experience includes being acting associate administrator of the former Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, will allow NASA to build on its success in human space exploration.As an astronaut, Bowersox flew five orbital missions for NASA, including two Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. He served as commander of the sixth expedition at the space station. Following his station mission, Bowersox served as the director of flight operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. He also has experience from working with American industry and serving on the NASA Advisory Council as chair of the Human Exploration and Operations Committee.“Kathy and Ken have both dedicated their life’s work to NASA and our nation. I wish Kathy well during her retirement. We know countless individuals at NASA – as well as members of the Artemis Generation – will be inspired by Kathy’s service and countless contributions,” Nelson said.Learn more about Bowersox’s experience in his biography online:https://www.nasa.gov/offices/heo/bowersox-bio.html-end-
[email protected] announced her retirement from @NASA next month. Her expertise, guidance & leadership have helped us achieve giant leaps in human space exploration, changing the way we do business in low-Earth orbit. We wish her well on her next adventure!
I have edu much enjoyed working w @KathyLueders while at @nasa. Most importantly, I have been impressed by her deep technical knowledge throughout, her strong decision making, and her kindness and support as a friend. There would be no @EuropaClipper without Kathy, [1/2]
We would have less @ISS_Research research w/o her, much less science data to ground, and I actually doubt there would be a @Commercial_Crew program, which has changed how we go to space, and will surely result in much science impact. Best of luck for what is next, @KathyLueders.
What Thomas means here is that Kathy pushed NASA Marshall to actually study the impact of SLS vibrations on the relatively small Clipper spacecraft; and this was the impetus for ultimately moving it onto the Falcon Heavy.
"With this award, NASA and our partners will complete the first crewed demonstration mission to the surface of the Moon in the 21st century as the agency takes a step forward for women’s equality and long-term deep space exploration,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA's associate administrator for Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate. “This critical step puts humanity on a path to sustainable lunar exploration and keeps our eyes on missions farther into the solar system, including Mars.”https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/as-artemis-moves-forward-nasa-picks-spacex-to-land-next-americans-on-moon
I'm only surprised she stuck around for a while after her promotion to lead HEO was quickly following by dissolving HEO and appointing Jim Free to lead ESD. I'm sure she'll be more valued in whatever her next endeavor might be. She didn't get tossed aside as roughly as Lori Garver did, so I guess... progress?
Wonder how long before Kathy Lueders join Bill Gerstenmaier at SpaceX?
Quoting NASA:"With this award, NASA and our partners will complete the first crewed demonstration mission to the surface of the Moon in the 21st century as the agency takes a step forward for women’s equality and long-term deep space exploration,” said Kathy Lueders, NASA's associate administrator for Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate. “This critical step puts humanity on a path to sustainable lunar exploration and keeps our eyes on missions farther into the solar system, including Mars.”https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/as-artemis-moves-forward-nasa-picks-spacex-to-land-next-americans-on-moon
Thank you to my @NASA Headquarters family for the wonderful retirement party and to NASA Administrator @SenBillNelson for presenting me with a Distinguished Service Medal in honor of my last 31 years of service to the agency. (1/2)
It has been a huge honor and I’ll never forget this beautiful send off from my friends and colleagues. (2/2)
One of the most important leaders at NASA for the last decade and a half. A really big thing Kathy did is push the agency to give commercial companies space to innovate on their own. Big difference in telling companies what to do versus asking how they would do it.