Doug Loverro is the former head of NASA. He sent down scare in everybody’s heart by stepping down from his position less than 12 months since his appointment. Loverro’s resignation came out on Monday, May 20, 2020.
The alarming part about this is that this week marks a historic event for NASA, as astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will travel to ISS, the International Space Station. For NASA’s head to have resigned only days before such a historic launch, we aren’t surprised that so many heads have turned. The mission is the first crewed mission from the U.S. since the year 2011.
There is no official announcement yet with the reason for Loverro’s abrupt resignation. However, there is talk fo some unidentified risk that it seams Mr. Loverro took regarding the nearing mission. An email to all NASA employees was leaked. The email mentions some kind of risk that Loverro seemed to have taken earlier this year, out of his judgment to fulfill the mission. The email also mentions Loverro admitting that he made a mistake in choosing to fulfill the mission and that he now has to face the consequences of his choices.
No further explanations were available. According to Loverro, his decision to resign from NASA has no relation to the launch. He stated clearly to the Axios news website, “I have 100% faith in the success of that mission”. For the meanwhile, the acting head of the human spaceflight is Loverro’s deputy, Ken Bowersox. Bowersox will have to chair the ‘flight readiness review,’ which will happen this Thursday. Loverro will be the one preceding the same. Bowersox will have to check the mission preparations and clear the astronauts for the launch.
The rocket and the spacecraft launch will happen from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The schedule for this launch is May 27, 2020. The two astronauts will go to the ISS in the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon Nine rocket, launching off Pad 39A. The same pad was in use for the launch of the Apollo and previous shuttle missions by NASA.
SpaceX is the company that’s behind the development of this rocket and spacecraft. After retiring NASA’s space shuttle in 2011, they are using Russian rockets for their crewed flights. Elon Musk, a billionaire entrepreneur, head the SpaceX company. If the launch is successful, SpaceX is set to become the first private company to send astronauts from NASA into space. Hurley and Behnken will take around 24 hours to reach the ISS.
It was in December 2017 that President Donald Trump asked NASA to plan a crewed mission to the Moon. The mission is the first since 1972. The plans are also to use the Moon’s surface and engage in long-term explorations of the Moon. The mission intends to lay the foundation for a later mission to Mars. However, there’s no set a date for this yet. It isn’t only the U.S. who have plans to visit the Moon. China also revealed intentions for a crewed mission to the Moon, announced earlier in 2017.
Still, another mission that NASA is busy with is their plan to send the Parker Solar Probe to the sun. The probe launch was in 2018 and is in the process of completing 24 passes through the uncharted territory of the sun’s atmosphere. The probe will orbit the sun by 2024, the same year the second manned mission to the Moon is set to happen. This mission went on to cost NASA approximately $1.5 billion!
NASA has plenty on their hands what with their launch looming near and not having a head any longer, and still so many preparations underway to send humans to the Moon in 2024, which is nearer every day.
Besides that, they receive data from their Parker Solar Probe, which is around 89 million miles away by 2024! Of course, these are not the only thee missions and plans that NASA has to go for them, as they are keen on being leaders in space exploration. Trump has made it clear that he intends to keep the U.S. in the lead when it comes to everything to do with space. It sure is an exciting time to be alive! And that’s finally some good news coming up this year!