Kathy Lueders becomes first woman to lead NASA's human spaceflight programmes
Lueders's appointment comes at a time NASA plans to land the first woman on the moon in 2024.
Kathy Lueders, the NASA official who was at the helm of the first private crewed space flight last month has been named as the next head of the agency’s Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate.
This makes her the first female to head human spaceflight, as the agency plans to return humans — including the landing of the first woman — on the moon in 2024.
"Kathy Lueders has been selected to lead @NASA's Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate," NASA head Jim Bridenstine tweeted.
Kathy Lueders has been selected to lead @NASA’s Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate. Kathy has successfully managed both the Commercial Crew & Commercial Cargo programs and is the right person to lead HEO as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon in 2024. pic.twitter.com/393vPTdXwb— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) June 12, 2020
Lueders has been leading the efforts to send astronauts to space on private spacecraft since 2014 and it culminated in the successful launch of a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30, carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The landmark mission, called Demo 2, was the first crewed commercial flight into the ISS.
She began her NASA career in 1992 as a Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control Systems Depot manager. She later moved to manage the commercial cargo resupply services to the space International Space Station.
Here's what you need to know about Kathy Lueders. She just spent a decade closely observing how two of NASA's key contractors, Boeing and SpaceX, approach and solve technical problems. She saw who executed, and who did not. Now she has a broader mandate.— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) June 12, 2020
“Kathy’s the right person to extend the space economy to the lunar vicinity and achieve the ambitious goals we’ve been given,” said Bridenstine.
NASA’s plans include establishing a sustainable, long-term human presence on and around the moon by 2028 and landing astronauts on Mars in the 2030s.