NASA’s Commercial Crew Effort Gets New Deputy Program Manager

Brent Jett
Brent Jett

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) management team is getting a new deputy manager.

Kathy Lueders, who manages NASA’s International Space Station Program Transportation Integration Office, will take over the role next month. She will replace Brent Jett, who has left the agency after 21 years and four space shuttle flights.

“As deputy program manager, Lueders will oversee the facilitation of commercial spacecraft and launch vehicle development and certification efforts, enabling the safe transportation of NASA astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station around the middle of the decade,” the space agency said in notice on its website.

Lueders will stay in her current position until after the launch of SpaceX’s second Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-2) mission to the International Space Station. The launch is scheduled for March 1 from Cape Canaveral.

“Lueders currently is the manager of NASA’s International Space Station Program Transportation Integration Office,” NASA says. “Throughout the past six years, her leadership in that office has been vital to NASA as the agency turned to the private sector to begin transporting critical cargo and supplies to the station following the retirement of the space shuttles.

“She also served in an advisory capacity to CCP while it developed the program approach that will ensure commercial missions are held to the same safety standards as government human space transportation system missions.”

Lueders replaces Jett, whose career at NASA included four space shuttle flights, a stint as head of the space agency’s Flight Crew Operations Directorate, and finally serving as CCP deputy manager.

In a press release announcing Jett’s departure, NASA said:

“Brent has been a remarkable asset to NASA and our human spaceflight programs,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “He was a successful pilot and an accomplished commander. His work in Russia and in Houston has really helped position the agency for our future endeavors with space station and commercial crew operations. On behalf of the entire HEO team, I wish Brent the best of luck in his new phase of life.”

After being selected to be an astronaut with the Class of 1992, Jett flew four space shuttle missions – two as pilot and two as commander. His first mission aboard Endeavour on STS-72 in January 1996 included the retrieval of a Japanese free-flying science satellite. He next flew a year later in January 1997 aboard Atlantis on STS-81 to the Russian Mir space station, delivering supplies and experiments and swapping one NASA astronaut for another as part of the Phase I Shuttle-Mir Program.

Soon after his second flight, Jett served as one of the early directors of NASA’s operations in Star City, Russia, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, helping establish the training protocols for astronauts traveling to Mir and eventually to the International Space Station.

His two commands on missions to the station were aboard Endeavour on STS-97 in November/December 2000, delivering early power systems and the first pair of 240-foot-long solar arrays, and aboard Atlantis on STS-115 in September 2006, signalling the resumption of station assembly following the Columbia accident. That mission included the delivery of another power module and deployment of two additional pair of solar arrays, which doubled the station’s electrical power generating capability.

His accomplishments on Earth helped position the agency for the future as director of Flight Crew Operations from 2007 to 2011 and as deputy manager of the Commercial Crew Program laying the groundwork for the development of spacecraft that will restore U.S. human spaceflight transportation to and from the station.

“Brent was an incredible leader for the Commercial Crew Program, the agency and the nation,” said Ed Mango, Commercial Crew Program manager. “His efforts helped our country put together a strong foundation in order to build a home-grown capability for human access to low Earth orbit.”

Jett retired from the U.S. Navy as a captain in 2007 after more than 26 years of service. He had logged more than 5,000 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft and performed more than 450 aircraft carrier landings. His experience on four shuttle missions totaled 42 days in space while traveling 17 million miles and orbiting the Earth 659 times.

For Jett’s complete biography, visit: https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/jett.html