Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ed Mango Steps Down as Head of NASA's Commercial Crew Program

Ed Mango. Credit: NASA

The Kennedy Space Center manager in charge of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program left that position last week, NASA disclosed Tuesday. Responding to media inquiries, NASA said Ed Mango had stepped down “to tend to personal matters,” effective Oct. 21. Leadership of the important human spaceflight program is now under the control of Mango’s deputy, Kathryn Lueders, who is based at Johnson Space Center in Houston and is serving as the acting program manager. A NASA spokesman said the agency would locate a permanent replacement at KSC but provided no timeframe.

“Keeping momentum in the program is critically important for NASA and for Florida, and (Mango’s) loss will be felt,” said Frank DiBello, CEO of Space Florida, which is working with NASA and its partners to repurpose former shuttle facilities for commercial use. “I am pleased to see that they have put a capable replacement in place.”

The Commercial Crew Program office represents KSC’s only leadership role in a major human spaceflight program, an assignment first announced in 2010 as the shuttle program was winding down.

Previously Johnson, home of the astronaut corps and Mission Control, had led NASA’s human spaceflight endeavors.

The Commercial Crew Program is working with three companies to develop private spacecraft that could resume flights of astronauts from U.S. soil — launched from the Space Coast — by 2017, ending reliance on Russia for access to the International Space Station.

The public-private partnership is generally seen as a success, making steady progress with significantly less funding than the system NASA is developing for deep space exploration missions, which hopes to fly a crew by 2021.

Mango, who joined KSC in 1986, oversaw about 200 program employees, about half of them at KSC, according to his official NASA biography.

He now is assigned to the deputy center director’s office at KSC, reporting to Janet Petro.

Lueders became Mango’s deputy in February, replacing former astronaut Brent Jett when he left the agency.

Before that she was a senior International Space Station program manager whose responsibilities included evaluating the safety of new commercial cargo vehicles approaching the station.

No comments:

Post a Comment