Thursday 18 July 2019

Long-serving Nasa boss demoted as Trump grows impatient over moon mission

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Getty
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Getty

Joey Roulette

As NASA scrambles to meet US President Donald Trump's mandate to return humans to the moon by 2024, a long-serving boss of its human exploration wing has been demoted.

Bill Gerstenmaier, who was leading the efforts to return humans to the lunar surface, has been with Nasa since 1977 and head of the human exploration office for 14 years.

"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," said agency chief Jim Bridenstine.

He placed Ken Bowersox, a former astronaut and vice president of astronaut safety and mission assurance for Elon Musk's SpaceX, as acting associate administrator for the human exploration wing.

The White House has shown frustration with the pace of Nasa's efforts, especially its Space Launch System, which is years behind schedule and plagued with cost overruns.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the US flag (Neil Armstrong/Nasa/PA)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the US flag (Neil Armstrong/Nasa/PA)

Irish Independent

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