Space enthusiasts were stunned when Doug Loverro, the head of NASA’s human spaceflight office, resigned from his post without citing a reason. Mr Loverro simply said a “mistake” he had made was the reason behind his shock exit, without going into further detail.
In a letter obtained by Politico, Mr Loverro, who previously worked for the Pentagon, said he was leaving his position “with a very, very heavy heart” after just seven months in the job.
The letter added: “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.
“The risks we take, whether technical, political, or personal, all have potential consequences if we judge them incorrectly.
“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.
“My leaving is because of my personal actions, not anything we accomplished together.”
What makes the timing of the mysterious resignation even more peculiar is that NASA and SpaceX are set to launch astronauts from American soil for the first time since 2011 next week.
Given that he oversaw NASA’s human spaceflight office, Mr Loverro would have been eager to see Americans launched from American soil for the first time in nearly a decade.
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