Just last month, a NASA official resigned just days before a mission he helped complete,media reported. Doug Loverro, NASA’s head of human space flight, announced his departure from NASA ahead of the agency’s first commercial manned mission– the SpaceX manned dragon spacecraft that will send astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken to the International Space Station — ahead of the start.
It was a strange decision, but Loverro said his departure had nothing to do with a commercial manned mission and that the mission itself was going well. Now, just as Hurley and Behnken have entered the space station, NASA’s own ISS project manager has announced his retirement.
Kirk Shireman is understood to have recently resigned as ISS project manager at an exciting time for NASA and the space industry as a whole. Daniel Hout, NASA’s public affairs officer, announced Shireman’s departure, but CNN revealed that Shireman had plans to retire before the SpaceX manned Dragon spacecraft sent astronauts into space.
Shireman is understood to have held the position for five years, during which time NASA has relied on Russian rockets to send its astronauts to the orbiting laboratory. In the future, SpaceX seems to be breaking that monopoly.
Although NASA has not yet announced a candidate for the position, it is expected to be announced soon, given the extensive work being done by ISS and the success of commercial manned flights. Meanwhile, Behnken and Hurley will continue their ISS mission, which includes two upcoming spacewalks.