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A view at night of the Earth from the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

NASA's head of human spaceflight, Doug Loverro, has resigned from his position at the space agency.

Why it matters: Loverro's resignation comes only a week before SpaceX is expected to launch a pair of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, marking the first crewed launch from the U.S. since 2011.

Details: In an interview with Axios, Loverro said his sudden departure had nothing to do with the upcoming rocket launch.

  • "I have 100% faith in the success of that mission," Loverro told Axios.
  • While Loverro wouldn't comment on the specifics of his resignation, some reports suggest he stepped down because he broke a rule involving the awarding of contracts to companies that hope to build lunar landers for NASA.
  • "I have no bitter feelings at all about what has happened," Loverro added. "I took a risk and I knew the potential consequences at the time."

Background: Loverro was put in charge of human spaceflight at NASA in October after Bill Gerstenmaier, a much-loved figure at the agency, was reassigned.

  • According to a message sent out to NASA staff, deputy associate administrator for human spaceflight Ken Bowersox will take over as acting chief.

Between the lines: The chief of human spaceflight is a powerful position within NASA. The person in that role effectively sets the tone for NASA's most prominent job — as an agency that explores.

  • During Loverro's short tenure, he promoted NASA's plans to return people to the Moon by 2024.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from Loverro.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Aug 1, 2020 - Science

NASA astronauts head home after historic spaceflight

The Crew Dragon spacecraft as it leaves the International Space Station. Photo: NASA TV

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are heading back to Earth from the International Space Station aboard their SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Why it matters: Behnken and Hurley's return will mark the end of SpaceX's first crewed mission to the station and the first mission in which American astronauts launched from U.S. soil in nine years.

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally-funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Twitter's next act

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is exiting the company he helped build at a time when its future has never been so uncertain.

Why it matters: The person who controls Twitter controls the de facto public square — with implications for politics, media and free speech.