Loverro: “No Regrets”

Loverro: “No Regrets”

Doug Loverro has no regrets about the actions he took that led to his sudden departure last night as the head of NASA’s human spaceflight program. The news shocked the NASA community just two days before a pivotal review in preparation for the first launch of astronauts from American soil since 2011.

Doug Loverro. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

In an interview with, Loverro declined to provide any details or confirm other reporting about what led NASA to ask to him to resign so suddenly.  He referred to his statement to colleagues today where he explained that he took a risk earlier in the year “because I judged it necessary to fulfill our mission.”  But now “it is clear that I made a mistake in that choice for which I alone must bear the consequences.”

In the interview, he said only that he has “no regrets” and is confident that the Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024 is on firm footing.  He also said the situation is unrelated to the upcoming launch of the SpaceX Demo-2 commercial crew test flight scheduled for May 27, a week from tomorrow.

The NASA community was stunned at the news and the timing.  Just two days from now, Loverro was to lead the Demo-2 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) to ensure everything is in order for the launch to take place.

Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s Associate Administrator, will chair the FRR instead.  He is the top ranking civil servant in the agency.

Loverro has been Associate Administrator (AA) for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) only since December 2019.  A former Air Force Colonel with more than 40 years of government service, he was chosen by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to replace Bill Gerstenmaier, who was abruptly dismissed in July 2019.  Deputy HEOMD AA Ken Bowersox, a retired Navy Captain and former NASA astronaut, served as acting AA in the intervening months. He once again will fill the position on an interim basis.

It is a lot of change in a short amount of time just when the commercial crew program is finally ready to send astronauts into space and NASA is trying to meet the Trump Administration’s goal of putting astronauts back on the Moon by 2024.

In a statement this afternoon, NASA said Loverro’s resignation was effective last night.  There was no mention of it this morning, however, during a meeting of the White House National Space Council at NASA Headquarters.  The approximately hour-long meeting was full only of good news about NASA and other civil, commercial and military space activities. The Space Council is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.  He and Bridenstine showed no sign of the impending leadership upheaval.

Bridenstine and the Demo-2 crew, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, participated via videolink from Johnson Space Center, TX.  Behnken and Hurley will fly to Kennedy Space Center, FL tomorrow, a week before their scheduled launch that will be full of reviews and press briefings in which Loverro would have played a major part.

NASA’s statement today sounded a reassuring tone, expressing confidence in Bowersox and Kathy Lueders, who heads the commercial crew program.  “NASA has the right leadership in place to continue making progress on the Artemis and Commercial Crew programs.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), chairwoman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK), who chairs its Space and Aeronautics subcommittee, are not so sure.

In a statement to, Johnson said:

“I was shocked to hear that the head of NASA’s human spaceflight program had been forced to resign just days before NASA plans to launch its critical DM-2 crewed mission to the International Space Station, and I trust that NASA Administrator Bridenstine will ensure that the right decision is made as to whether or not to delay the launch attempt.  Beyond that, Mr. Loverro’s resignation is another troubling indication that the Artemis Moon-Mars initiative is still not on stable footing.  I look forward to clarification from NASA as to the reasons for this latest personnel action.” — Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Horn tweeted her concerns.


This article has been updated.

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