WASHINGTON — NASA’s leadership offered few details July 11 about the sudden reassignment of two top officials in its human spaceflight program the day before, a move that drew criticism from leading House members.
In a memo late July 10, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced he was reassigning Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations, and Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, to “special advisor” positions. Gerstenmaier will be replaced, on an acting basis, by Ken Bowersox, a former astronaut who rejoined the agency earlier this year as Gerstenmaier’s deputy.
In a follow-up memo to NASA employees July 11, Bridenstine said little about why Gerstenmaier and Hill were replaced. He said he made the leadership changes “to better position the agency to meet the challenge to go forward to the Moon and on to Mars.”
In that memo, he said the agency would start a “nationwide search” to fill those two positions on a permanent basis. The agency is also creating a new deputy associate administrator position “to lead NASA’s Moon to Mars efforts,” including Gateway and lunar lander development.
NASA had sought to create a separate “Moon to Mars Mission Directorate” this spring, ...