The leader of NASA’s human spaceflight program, Douglas Loverro, has resigned after spending about seven months at the agency.
The resignation comes little more than a week before a major event for both NASA and SpaceX. On May 27 astronauts are slated to launch from U.S. soil to the International Space Station for the first time since 2011. Ars Technica reports that Loverro was set to give the final okay for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will carry astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. That job will now fall to Ken Bowersox, the acting associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations.
Loverro wrote that he was leaving the agency due to an undisclosed “mistake,” according to a letter obtained by Politico. “Throughout my long government career of over four and a half decades I have always found it to be true that we are sometimes, as leaders, called on to take risks,” Loverro reportedly wrote. “I took such a risk earlier in the year because I judged it necessary to fulfill our mission. Now, over the balance of time, it is clear that I made a mistake in that choice for which I alone must bear the consequences.”
Reached by Fast Company, a NASA spokesperson sent over a boilerplate statement confirming Loverro’s departure and said the agency is “unable to discuss personnel matters” beyond it.