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SpaceX hires key NASA human spaceflight head for Starship

San Francisco, May 16 (IANS) Elon Musk’s SpaceX has roped in NASA’s former head of human spaceflight Kathy Lueders to help in its Starship launch, the media reported.

Lueders will be a general manager, and she will work out of the SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Texas. She will report directly to SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell, CNBC reported.

After a 31-year career at NASA, Lueders retired from the space agency at the end of April, as associate administration of Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD).

In July 2020, she became the head of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Before that she oversaw the culmination of its Commercial Crew programme as manager, including the first SpaceX missions to carry NASA astronauts.

Her career at NASA also included stints on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programmes.

As head of the SOMD, she oversaw the Cargo and Crew Dragon missions to and from the ISS, including SpaceX’s first crewed mission for the agency.

Her knowledge of the human spaceflight programme at NASA will help SpaceX considerably upping the ante with Starship — intended to be a deep space transportation carrier that may eventually reach Mars.

Previously, NASA’s William Gerstenmaier, joined SpaceX in 2020 after more than a decade as the agency’s top human spaceflight official.

Gerstenmaier is now SpaceX’s vice president of build and flight reliability.

–IANS

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