The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration said on Friday that it has appointed the woman official who managed the inaugural private crew flight to the International Space Station last month to be the head of human spaceflight. Kathy Lueders is the first woman to hold the post, AFP reported.
“Kathy gives us the extraordinary experience and passion we need to continue to move forward with Artemis and our goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024,” NASA Administrator Jim Brindenstine said, according to a press release on the organisation’s website. “She has a deep interest in developing commercial markets in space, dating back to her initial work on the space shuttle programme.” Lueders will take over the post immediately.
Lueders joined NASA in 1992. On May 30 and 31, she oversaw the journey of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station with crew on board. The launch ended Russia’s nine-year monopoly over travel to the space station, and SpaceX became the first private company to send humans into space.
Lueders has for several years been in charge of the testing programme for space capsules developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Boeing and other companies, all of which are collaborating with NASA to build spacecraft that can carry human beings into space safely. She was also in charge of NASA oversight of international partner spacecraft visiting the ISS.