Kathy Lueders is the first woman to lead NASA's human spaceflight division.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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Previously head of Commercial Crew, Lueders was responsible for returning astronauts to orbit from the U.S.
Jim Bridenstine, Administrator of NASA, chose the expert to lead the human spaceflight division due to her leadership and technical competence. She now oversees ISS, Commercial Crew, and the Artemis program to return humans to the moon.
Lueders joined NASA in 1992 and has devoted her career to human space exploration. As NASA Human Spaceflight Chief, she plays a big part in the agency's plan to go back to the moon by 2024. The trip will include the next man and the first woman to be on board for the mission.
NASA launched the privately operated flight program in the 2010s under the presidency of Barack Obama. It represented a model change for the space agency, which has since commissioned the design and manufacture of rockets and space vehicles for the private aeronautical industry. The current calendar foresees two astronauts, at least one of them a woman, on the moon in 2024 using the SLS rocket and the Orion capsule.
Jim Bridenstine said in a media teleconference, "We're going to go sustainably, we're going to build an architecture that as much as possible as replicable at Mars, and I truly believe that Kathy Lueders is the type of person we need leading to achieve those outcomes."
On her days on the shuttle program, despite Lueders was early in her career, she was selected to be the depot manager for the owns engines on the shuttle orbital maneuvering system. She was also tasked to lead programs in the international space station and commercial resupply helping NASA's international partners achieve the ability to talk to the international space station.
The success she recently had was with the Commercial Crew program showing that she has the right set of skills and leadership qualities to take NASA and humanity more in-depth into the solar system.
After working across the agency for almost 30 years, she has a lot of experience helping astronauts return safely to earth to meet their partners and families again. Now she's working hard with three companies to get boots on the moon by 2024.
"This is a challenging goal, but we are working aggressively to see and accomplish the missions that have been given towards us," she stressed during the media teleconference.
Lueders is highly respected and loved in the aerospace industry. She is an engineer, a director of NASA, and she is not a politician like was the case of Jim Bridenstine.
Bridenstine, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, was appointed to the position in 2018 by Donald Trump. However, he has announced that he will leave his position after the change in the U.S. Administration, although the president-elect, Joe Biden, asks him to remain in charge of the space agency.
According to the NASA's blog website, "Since 2014, Lueders has directed NASA's efforts to send astronauts to space on private spacecraft, which culminated in the successful launch of Demo-2 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30."
There's no doubt that her influence, experience, and skills will significantly differentiate the agency.