The announcement of Loverro's resignation came the same day that Vice President Mike Pence chaired the seventh meeting of the National Space Council at NASA headquarters and barely a week before astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley are due to become the first Americans to launch into space aboard an American-made rocket from USA soil since 2011. Typically that is led by the person in charge of NASA's human exploration program.
Loverro's resignation is the second time in less than a year that NASA's head of human spaceflight has changed.
NASA's return to US-based crew launches will take place under less-than-ideal circumstances.
Space Shuttle Columbia piloted by Ken Bowersox lands at the Kennedy Space Center at the conclusion of STS-50 – via L2
Loverro, who came to NASA in October 2019, would have presided over the Flight Readiness Review - an important safety check scheduled for later this week to get ready for the planned May 27 launch that will send two NASA astronauts on a brief journey to the worldwide space station. Loverro took over his position several months later.
A source familiar with the situation would not characterize the "mistake" other than to say that it involved not following rules or regulations, and that Loverro had been asked to resign. In the memo, it states, Loverro made significant progress in his time at NASA. "Loverro has dedicated more than four decades of his life in service to our country, and we thank him for his service and contributions to the agency".
The journey next week to the International Space Station from Florida's Cape Canaveral will be the first from U.S. soil since the retirement of the space shuttle program in 2011.More news: Iraq's KRG to impose COVID-19 curfew on Eid
'Beyond that, Mr. Loverro's resignation is another troubling indication that the Artemis Moon-Mars initiative is still not on stable footing, ' she added. That review, and the launch, will continue as scheduled, NASA said. The first of which is scheduled for Thursday, May 21. A vital launch readiness review is planned for later this week.
Nasa indicated on Tuesday the launch would proceed according to that schedule.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence praised NASA for "renewing American leadership in space" and said he was looking forward to the launch. "Under this administration, we've seen a pattern of abrupt departures that have disrupted our nation's efforts at human space flight".More news: Powerful Cyclone Amphan will impact millions in India, Bangladesh
In addition to the commercial crew program, Loverro was also head of the agency's burgeoning Artemis program. A lofty goal for sure.
The journey to the International Space Station from Florida's Cape Canaveral will be the first from US soil since the retirement of the space shuttle program in 2011.
In an all-hands email, Loverro reportedly told NASA staff that he made a "mistake" earlier in 2020 that he initially thought was "necessary to fulfill our mission". "If anything, your performance and those plans make everything we have worked for over the past six months more attainable and more certain than ever before". "My leaving is because of my personal actions, not anything we have accomplished together". He also declined to offer specifics about his "mistake".More news: Trump 'surprised' by AG Barr's refusal to probe Obama over Russian Federation case