NASA Shake-Up in New Race to the Moon

Heres what 12 Astronauts had to say about their experience on visiting the lunar surface

Gerstenmaier started out as an engineer and eventually became the associate administrator for human exploration and operations in 2004.

He placed Ken Bowersox, a former astronaut and vice president of astronaut safety and mission assurance for Elon Musk's SpaceX, as acting associate administrator for the human exploration wing.

The NASA executive in charge of human space exploration has been ousted over disagreements on the space agency's plans to land an astronaut on the moon by 2024.

Also joining the program is author Charles Fishman, whose new book "One Giant Leap", tells untold stories of America's mission to the moon.

"In an effort to meet this challenge, I have decided to make leadership changes to the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate".

Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development within HEO also has been replaced.

At the time, NASA's Moon to Mars page still listed 2028 as the target for putting astronauts on the moon.

More news: Oil gains on USA inventory drawdown, Gulf of Mexico storm

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said there was nothing wrong with what Gerstenmaier was doing.

Today there is increased interest in returning, with Nasa aiming to put feet on the moon by 2024 and multinational plans to build a space station around the moon in the future.

The Washington Post reported that the shakeup in leadership came as Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials have grown frustrated with the agency's lack of progress and aired their grievances to Bridenstine in a recent meeting.

The Democratic chairwoman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology said she was "baffled" by Bridenstine's decision to demote Gerstenmaier without a permanent replacement to fill the role.

Gerstenmaier appeared to favor test firing the mammoth rocket's first stage, powered by four upgraded space shuttle main engines, at NASA's Stennis Space Center in MS next year to make sure the booster met its design specifications.

Going back to the moon is a waste of money, according to the presenter behind the BBC's coverage of the first moon landing 50 years ago.

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