Kathryn (Kathy) Lueders is an American engineer that led NASA's human spaceflight program as the Associate Administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. On May 1st, Ms. Lueders retired from NASA after 31 years; she was the first woman to lead human spaceflight operations at the agency. She served as program manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program under which she oversaw the return of human spaceflight capabilities to the United States. NASA depended on Russia’s Roscosmos Space Agency for roughly a decade to ferry crew to and from the orbiting laboratory. Thanks to SpaceX, the U.S. has the capability to launch astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from American soil atop the Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Today, CNBC first-reported that Ms. Lueders has been hired by SpaceX to manage some spaceflight operations at the Starbase facility located in Boca Chica Beach, Texas. Starbase has a factory and a launch site where the Starship launch vehicle is undergoing development. Ms. Lueders is highly respected in the industry and is a great addition to the company. Her knowledge and experience in the space industry will assist SpaceX to achieve launching crew on Starship. She knows what is needed to launch humans to space safely and reliably.
SpaceX is working to have a space-ready Starship to launch the first set of Starship flights which involve multiple private/commercial customers. The most ambitious mission that SpaceX aims to accomplish by 2025 is to return humanity to the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program. Starbase engineers are developing a lunar-optimized Starship Human Landing System (HLS) that will return astronauts to the Moon alongside NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS).
SpaceX is currently working on multiple stainless-steel prototypes of Starship that will attempt to reach orbit this year. The company performed the first fully-integrated Starship flight on April 20, which was terminated when it experienced issues mid-flight after reaching a max altitude of nearly 40 kilometers – halfway its destination which was to reach orbit above 100 kilometers. The next launch attempt is expected to occur in around 2 or 3 months. Read more: NASA Administrator expresses optimism about SpaceX's ability to land Artemis astronauts on the Moon by 2025, says next Starship flight in ~2 months
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to share @NASA mission objectives, news, and milestones with my followers. I’ve enjoyed engaging with you all and sharing updates on a more personal level. (1/4) pic.twitter.com/mNa9dtvT8j— Kathy Lueders (@KathyLueders) April 27, 2023
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Featured Image Source: NASA Kathy Lueders via Twitter
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About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.