NASA Creates Two New Mission Directorates for Human Spaceflight

Kathryn Lueders

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Tuesday the agency is creating two new mission directorates that will best position the agency for the next 20 years.

The move separates the agency’s current Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate into the new Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD) and Space Operations Mission Directorate.

NASA is making the changes because of increasing space operations in low-Earth orbit and development programs well underway for deep space exploration, including Artemis missions.

Leadership will discuss the change and the future of NASA during an employee town hall broadcast live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website at noon EDT today.

Media are invited to a follow-on teleconference at 2:30 p.m., with audio streaming live online.

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Nelson Promotes KSC’s Bob Cabana as NASA Associate Administrator

Bob Cabana

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson announced Monday Robert D. Cabana, who has served as director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida since 2008, will serve as associate administrator effective Monday, May 17. Steve Jurczyk, who held the position since 2018, announced his retirement Monday.

“Bob has a relentless determination to expand America’s role in space. Under his leadership, Kennedy has emerged as a modern, world class multi-user spaceport, partnering with commercial customers and supporting NASA’s science and human exploration missions,” Nelson said. “Bob is the real deal – he has the vision and management skills to bring NASA to even higher heights.”

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Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Briefings, Events, Broadcasts

Crew-2 members Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet, Akihiko Hoshide and Shane Kimbrough. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners. The flight follows certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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Spaceport Upgrades Launch Kennedy Into Record-Setting Future

An aerial view of the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 13, 2021. The High Bay 3 in the VAB is where NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft will be stacked on top of the mobile launcher before it is rolled out atop crawler-transporter 2 to Launch Pad 39B for launch on the agency’s Artemis I mission. (Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

By Heather L. Scott
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

As quickly as the crewed commercial rocket lifted off the launch pad and into the night sky, a new type of space race had begun.

The November 2020 launch of astronauts from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the first operational mission by a commercial company was the culmination of a new form of government and industry cooperation – an example of how vibrant and diverse American space activities have become.

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Crew-1 Heads to Space Station to Conduct Microgravity Science

NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, left, Victor Glover, second from left, Mike Hopkins, second from right, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, right, are introduced by Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana after arriving at the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center ahead of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Expedition 1 and Crew-1. These historic International Space Station missions lifting off 20 years apart share the same goals: advancing humanity by using the space station to learn how to explore farther than ever before, while also conducting research and technology demonstrations benefiting life back on Earth.

Crew-1, made up of NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Mike Hopkins, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, continues the legacy of two decades of living and working in low-Earth orbit by becoming space scientists for the next six months.

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Crew-1 Astronauts Arrive at Kennedy Space Center

NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, left, Victor Glover, second from left, Mike Hopkins, second from right, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, right, are introduced by Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana after arriving at the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center ahead of SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The astronauts that will soon launch to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission arrived Sunday at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start final preparations for liftoff.

NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), landed via plane at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy after departing earlier today from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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Crew Dragon at Launch Complex for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1; Astronauts Arrive Sunday

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Thursday, Nov. 5, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Thursday, Nov. 5, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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Mars Needs Women — NASA Needs Everybody

Credit: American International Television

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In the 1967 film, Mars Needs Women, a team of martians invades Earth to kidnap women to help repopulate their dying species. Shot over two weeks on a minuscule budget and padded out with stock footage, the movie obtained cult status as one of those cinematic disasters that was so bad it was unintentionally hilarious.

A half century later, NASA finds itself in a not entirely dissimilar situation. Only this problem is not nearly as funny.

The space agency lacks sufficient personnel with the proper skill sets to undertake its complex missions to the moon, Mars and beyond. A number of key programs have been affected by the shortfall already.

NASA’s workforce is also aging. More than half the agency’s employees are 50 years and older, with one-fifth  currently eligible for retirement. Finding replacement workers with the right mix of skills is not always easy as NASA faces increased competition from a growing commercial space sector.

The space agency is addressing these challenges, but it’s too early to tell how successful these efforts will be, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) assessment.

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NASA KSC Director Looks Ahead to 2018 Milestones

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana speaks to employees at the Florida spaceport about plans for the coming year. (Credits: NASA/Frank Michaux)

By Bob Granath
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana recently spoke to spaceport employees about plans for 2018. The coming year will be highlighted by NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partners preparing to launch test flights for crewed missions to the International Space Station.

“This is going to be an awesome year for us,” Cabana said speaking to center employees on Jan. 11, in the Lunar Theater of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Apollo Saturn V Center. “The number one priority this year is we’ve got to get commercial crew flying to the International Space Station.”

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NASA Q&A on Commercial Crew Program

Bob Cabana, Kennedy Space Center director, from left, Kathy Lueders, Commercial Crew Program manager, astronauts Eric Boe and Suni Williams discuss talk about the development of a new generation of human-rated spacecraft. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)
Bob Cabana, Kennedy Space Center director, from left, Kathy Lueders, Commercial Crew Program manager, astronauts Eric Boe and Suni Williams discuss talk about the development of a new generation of human-rated spacecraft. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

There are few days that are the same for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program astronauts as they train for flight tests aboard the next generation of human-rated spacecraft, astronauts Eric Boe and Suni Williams told an audience at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Thursday.

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SpaceX Signs 20-Year Lease for Pad 39A

Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour. (Credit: NASA)
Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX has signed a 20-year lease on Pad 39A, the former shuttle launch facility the company plans to use for its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters.

“I promise everybody, we’re going to make great use of this pad,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and KSC Director Bob Cabana joined Shotwell at the pad to announce the agreement moments after they signed it, beginning the pad’s “new mission as a commercial launch site,” Bolden said.

SpaceX hopes to launch its first heavy-lift Falcon rocket from KSC in the first quarter of next year, a mission previously expected to launch from California.

And if later this year SpaceX wins a NASA contract to launch astronauts to the International Space Station, those missions also would depart from KSC by 2017….

Shotwell said SpaceX would install new instrumentation and some new plumbing at 39A.

More details are to come, but the overhaul likely won’t be as significant as at pad 39B, where NASA dismantled the fixed and rotating shuttle service towers.

Read more here.











NewSpace 2012: NASA Leadership Roundtable

NewSpace 2012 Conference
NASA Leadership Roundtable

  • Rebecca Keiser (Moderator) — Associate Deputy Administrator for Strategy and Policy, NASA
  • Robert Cabana — Director, NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Ramon Lugo — Director, NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Ellen Ochoa — Deputy Director, NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Pete Worden — Director, NASA Ames Research Center

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