NASA to Stand Up New Mission Directorates to Support Future Space Activities
NASA will establish two new directorates to put the agency in the best possible position in the next two decades. According to an announcement by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, the move would create the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate and the Space Operations Mission Directorate. Both units will focus on lunar and Mars explorations.
According to Nelson, the establishment of the new directorates will support space commercialization efforts and research activities on the International Space Station, as well as initiatives to expand mankind’s space ventures. It would also ensure that there is focus put on human spaceflight and future space systems and that both aspects will work well together to support space exploration activities, NASA said Tuesday.
On May 15, 2020, former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced the Artemis program, an initiative that aims to bring humans back to the Moon by 2024. Astronauts will land on the lunar surface using the Orion spacecraft and the Human Landing System. Once NASA establishes a lunar base, it will be able to execute plans to send astronauts to Mars for the first time under the Moon to Mars program.
Jim Free, who served as director for the NASA Glenn Research Center from January 2013 to March 2016, will return to the agency to serve as associate administrator of ESDMD. He will oversee systems development for aspects that are critical for Artemis and will plan the Moon to Mars exploration approach.
Kathy Lueders has also been selected as associate administrator of the Space Operations Mission Directorate. She will be responsible for launch and space operations, future operations on the Moon and other activities that affect the ISS and low-Earth orbit satellites.
The organization will implement the new mission directorates in the coming months while working on current operations. NASA also said there will be no changes to roles and missions.
Tags: Artemis Bill Nelson ESDMD human exploration Human Landing System Jim Bridenstine Jim Free Kathy Lueders Moon to Mars program NASA Operations Mission Directorate Orion spacecraft space space exploration Space Operations Mission Directorate