WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he reassigned the agency’s human spaceflight head, Bill Gerstenmaier, because time was limited to address cost and schedule issues with the agency’s key exploration programs and still meet a 2024 deadline for returning humans to the moon.
In an interview with reporters from SpaceNews and The Washington Post for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program July 12, Bridenstine also questioned whether commercial crew companies will be able to launch astronauts to the International Space Station by the end of this year.
The interview came two days after Bridenstine said he had reassigned Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for human exploration and operations, and Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, to “special advisor” positions. The announcement took many by surprise, particularly since Gerstenmaier was held in high regard throughout the space industry.
“We’re moving to a new era in human spaceflight where the administration is interested in going fast, we’re interested in doing things in a different way, and I believed it was important to have new leadership at the top of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate,” he said. “I just thought it was important to make this decision, make this change at ...