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Photo: NASA

Former Department of Defense official Douglas Loverro has been named NASA's new head of human spaceflight after a months-long search.

Why it matters: Loverro will help lead NASA's push to the Moon as part of its Artemis program to land astronauts back on the lunar surface by 2024, as directed by the Trump administration.

The state of play: Loverro joins NASA at a time when the agency is pushing to end its reliance on Russian rockets for rides to the International Space Station through contracts with Boeing and SpaceX.

  • The agency is also attempting to make up ground after years of delays in the development of its Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule.

The intrigue: Loverro was picked for the job after his predecessor, William Gerstenmaier, was ousted from the position in July.

  • Gerstenmaier was a well-loved figure in the space agency, and his reassignment came as a surprise to many in the industry.

The big picture: NASA doesn't appear to have the support it needs from key members of Congress in order to get people back to the Moon by 2024.

  • "We cannot afford to fail. Therefore, I believe that it is better to use the original NASA schedule of 2028 in order to have a successful, safe and cost-effective mission for the benefit of the American people and the world," Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.) said during a Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing today.
  • NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine has said that the agency will need about $20 billion to $30 billion to pull off the Artemis mission by 2024, but NASA has yet to detail exactly how much in funding is needed to make the mission happen.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — and will begin an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Telework's tax mess

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As teleworkers flit from city to city, they're creating a huge tax mess.

Why it matters: Our tax laws aren't built for telecommuting, and this new way of working could have dire implications for city and state budgets.

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