His departure was effective on Monday.
Reached by phone on Tuesday evening, Loverro declined to comment on the reason for his departure.
Loverro began playing his role as head of NASA’s human spaceflight programs in December, replacing William Gerstenmaier, who has held the role for more than a decade. In his nearly 700-word note, Loverro only told NASA workers that leaders are “called to take risks” and added that “I took such a risk earlier in the year because I felt it was necessary to take our mission”.
“Now, over time, it is clear that I made a mistake in that choice for which only I have to bear the consequences,” wrote Loverro. “And therefore, it is with a very, very heavy heart that I am writing to you today to let you know that I quit NASA starting May 18, 2020.”
Ken Bowersox, NASA’s deputy chief executive officer for exploration and human operations, will become NASA’s interim chief of human space flight.
Loverro’s exit immediately raised a few eyebrows on Capitol Hill.
Texas Democrat MP Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the space and science committee of the House, said in a statement that she was “shocked” by the news.
“I am confident that NASA administrator Bridenstine will ensure that the right decision is made whether or not to delay the launch attempt,” said Johnson. “Besides that, Loverro’s resignation is another worrying indication that the Artemis Moon-Mars initiative is not yet stable. I am looking forward to clarifying NASA on the reasons for the staff’s latest action.”
The moment of Loverro’s departure was tied to when Jurczyk, the associate administrator, made a recommendation to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, the source said. It was not related to the launch of Crew Dragon next week, the source added.
Jurczyk was the procurement official for the procurement of Artemis’ lunar lander contract, according to public documents.
An agency-level email sent on Tuesday said Loverro “started running” after his appointment in 2019 and had made “significant progress over his time at NASA.”
“His leadership of [NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations] brought us closer to our goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the moon in 2024, “said the email. He said his resignation was immediately effective, although they did not give details of the reason for his release. .
A NASA spokesman declined to comment.
Loverro told CNN Business that he is “100% sure” that the leadership will be able to carry out the SpaceX mission. He added that he believes NASA’s ambitious human space flight targets are “doable”. “But,” he added, “it will take risks to get us there, and I hope people who put me in my shoes will continue to take risks.”
SpaceX’s launch next week will mark the space agency’s highest-profile mission since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011. SpaceX, which has a multi-billion dollar contract under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program , he worked for the better part of a decade to prepare his Dragon spacecraft for manned flights to the International Space Station. Since the Shuttle retired, NASA has had to rely on Russia for travel to the ISS.