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NASA Associate Administrator Announces Retirement, Replacement Announced

NASA Associate Administrator, Kathy Lueders announces retirement; Ken Bowersoz announced as new head of Space Operations.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Mon Mar 27 2023Written by Zac Aubert

On Monday, Kathryn Lueders, the associate administrator of NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate, announced she will be stepping down from her position at the end of April and retiring from the agency. Starting from May 1, her deputy and astronaut, Ken Bowersox, will take over as the new head of Space Operations.

“Kathy and Ken have both dedicated their life’s work to NASA and our nation. I wish Kathy well during her retirement. We know countless individuals at NASA well as members of the Artemis Generation ...will be inspired by Kathy’s service and countless contributions” - Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

About Kathy Lueders

Over the course of 31 years at NASA, Kathryn Lueders played a key role in providing strategic guidance for the agency's human exploration of space and its scientific missions. Her efforts have helped NASA form partnerships with American industry to support research aboard the International Space Station, including crewed and cargo transportation to and from the station.

Lueders began her NASA career at the White Sands Test Facility, managing the Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control Systems Depot. She later worked in the International Space Station Program and served as manager of the Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center before joining NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Her accomplishments have earned her numerous accolades, including NASA achievement awards, the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award, and the Distinguished Service Medal. She was also named a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2022, received the SpaceNews Government Leader of the Year award in 2020, and was inducted into the Space and Satellite Hall of Fame in 2021. Other awards she received include the 2021 American Astronomical Society Spaceflight Achievement Award, the 2020 Woman in Aerospace Leadership Award, the 2022 Space Pioneer Award by the National Space Society, and IAASS’ 2019 Leonardo da Vinci Lifetime Achievement Award.

About Ken Bowersox

Ken Bowersox will take the helm of the mission directorate, with his extensive operations experience, including serving as acting associate administrator of the former Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

Bowersox is a veteran astronaut, having completed five orbital missions for NASA, including two servicing missions for the Hubble Space Telescope. He also served as commander of the sixth expedition to the space station.

Following his mission, Bowersox became the director of flight operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Additionally, he has worked with American industry and served as the chair of the Human Exploration and Operations Committee on the NASA Advisory Council.