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New Head of Human Exploration at NASA Committed to Reaching the Moon by 2024

Accepted submission by takyon at 2019-07-13 05:27:49

After shocking leadership shakeup at NASA, new head of human exploration says moon 2024 is doable []

Less than 24 hours after being named head of human exploration at NASA, former astronaut Ken Bowersox said the agency is trying to speed up decision-making in its quest to reach the moon by 2024.

"The key is we need to fly when we're ready, but if we don't shoot for 2024 we have zero chance," Bowersox said Thursday at the American Astronautical Society's John Glenn Memorial Symposium. "Our attitude is to get as much of this going as we can — to move as fast as we can, as long as we can."

Bowersox' brief remarks in Cleveland follow the shocking announcement Wednesday night that Bill Gerstenmaier — a pillar in NASA's human exploration operations since 2005 — was out as the agency's associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

The announcement was made in a Wednesday email to NASA employees from Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "As you know, NASA has been given a bold challenge to put the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, with a focus on the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars," he wrote. "In an effort to meet this challenge, I have decided to make leadership changes." He then named Bowersox — a 62-year-old veteran of five space shuttle flights — as Gerstenmaier's replacement.

The decision — which surprised many in the space community — comes as NASA continues a years-long struggle to keep its human exploration plans on track. Projects such as the Space Launch System rocket being built to launch humans to the moon and the commercial crew program, meant to alleviate the country's reliance on Russia for transportation to the International Space Station, are years behind schedule.

See also: To the Moon and beyond []

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