NASA’s International Space Station program director Kirk Shireland retires

A few weeks ago, NASA sent two astronauts to the International Space Station with the SpaceX Dragon capsule, meaning the agency’s commercial space launch program has been a success. Yesterday, however, Kirk Shireland, NASA’s chief project manager for the International Space Station, announced his glorious retirement. The work will then be replaced by a deputy, and the International Space Station is expected to remain in service for at least a decade.

NASA's International Space Station program director Kirk Shireland retires

Although there was no immediate official comment, a spokesman for the agency confirmed Kirk Shireland’s departure. In a follow-up statement, NASA revealed that Joel Montalbano would take over the vacancy.

Montalbano has been with the agency since January 1989 and has been deputy project manager since 2012. Kathy Lueders, deputy director of human exploration and operations at NASA, added:

KirkShireland has spent 35 years in his career to improve and advance human space flight and collaboration.

During his tenure, NASA forged close ties with international business partners, making the International Space Station an example of global collaboration.

We thank Kirk Shireland for his contribution to the U.S. space program and trust that Joel Montalbano will lead you in the further exploration of space science and business prospects.