NASA has announced the selection of Kathy Lueders as the agency’s next associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate. Lueders replaces Doug Loverro, who resigned from the position on May 18, less than two weeks before the first crewed launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. Although the exact circumstances that led to Loverro’s resignation have not been made public, he stated in an interview with Space.com that the move was unrelated to either the commercial crew program or a recently announced audit by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the acquisition strategy for the Artemis missions. Lueders’ appointment takes effect immediately.
“Kathy gives us the extraordinary experience and passion we need to continue to move forward with Artemis and our goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “She has a deep interest in developing commercial markets in space, dating back to her initial work on the space shuttle program.”
Lueders has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University. She started work at NASA in 1992, serving as Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control Systems Depot manager at the agency’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico. She then moved to the International Space Station Program as transportation integration manager. In 2013, Lueders became acting Commercial Crew Program Manager at Kennedy Space Center and was selected as the head of that office in 2014.