SpaceX Hires Former NASA Human Spaceflight Chief

A former high-ranking NASA employee, Kathy Lueders, has joined SpaceX, according to the report. She will work at Starbase in Texas and seek to make Starship safe for human flight.

A former top human spaceflight official at NASA has joined SpaceX

Kathy Lueders, a former top NASA official, has joined SpaceX, CNBC reports. She left the agency where she handled human spaceflight a couple of weeks ago. According to the information, Lueders will be the general manager and work at Starbase in Texas. She will report directly to SpaceX president and COO, Gwynne Shotwell.

SpaceX is committed to making Starship safe for human spaceflight

Lueders coming to SpaceX is great news for the company. SpaceX is committed to making its huge Starship rocket safe for human spaceflight. This is expected to happen in the coming years. Lueders is a seasoned expert in this sector and has valuable experience. She worked for NASA for 31 years and left the organization at the end of April 2023. Lueders has experience not only with NASA but also with SpaceX. She, as manager, oversaw the Commercial Crew program, including the first SpaceX missions with NASA astronauts.

SpaceX gets the best talent

Lueders is not the only top NASA employee to join SpaceX. In 2020, the company got William Gerstenmaier. Before that, he spent more than 10 years as NASA’s top human spaceflight official. At the moment, Gerstenmaier is SpaceX’s vice president of build and flight reliability.

SpaceX is moving quickly with Starship development

On April 20, SpaceX Starship and Super Heavy made its first test flight. The two-stage starship took off to an altitude of 39 km. This attempt was crowned with success and quite impressive. The company feared that the vehicle might not even take off from the launch pad, which would be unfortunate. However, Starship and Super Heavy made a great flight, pointing out to the SpaceX team what was done right.

The vehicle, with a speed of over 1800 km/h, climbed over the Gulf of Mexico for about four minutes. However, shortly before the separation of the two stages of the rocket, unforeseen problems arose. Soon after, the entire rocket system exploded spectacularly. The company was happy it received a huge amount of data, and will now be able to study and apply it in the next launch.

It was reported Tuesday that SpaceX has submitted a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) request for “an experimental orbital demo and recovery test of the Starship vehicle from Boca Chica TX.” The operation start date is listed as June 15.

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