Key NASA Official Exits Just Before SpaceX’s First Crewed Flight

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(Bloomberg) -- NASA’s head of human space flight is leaving his job just as Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is poised to launch its first crew into orbit.

Doug Loverro has stepped down as associate administrator for human exploration and operations, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Tuesday. Ken Bowersox, the deputy chief of human space flight, will replace Loverro in an acting role, effective immediately.

Loverro’s departure Monday, seven months after taking his job, hands NASA a surprise personnel change as the space agency prepares to use a U.S. rocket to carry its astronauts for the first time since the shuttle program ended in 2011. SpaceX is scheduled to launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station on May 27.

“Loverro hit the ground running this year and has made significant progress in his time at NASA,” the agency said in a statement.

Politico reported that Loverro was ousted over unspecified disagreements with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. The agency didn’t respond to a request for comment, nor did SpaceX.

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