SpaceX is all set for its historic, first human spaceflight mission, scheduled to take off on May 7 (tentative date and may see some changes later). And while Elon Musk’s space exploration company is busy prepping up for the launch (more on that later), a CNBC report suggests that it has onboarded ex-NASA expert on human spaceflight to take this mission forward.
The CNBC report suggests that William Gerstenmaier, the former leader of NASA’s human spaceflight program, has now begun working at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, people familiar with his hiring told the media channel. In his new role Gerstenmaier is reporting to SpaceX vice president of mission assurance Hans Koenigsmann, those people said, as the company prepares to begin launching astronauts.
Gerstenmaier is a veteran at NASA, having spent over four decades at the world’s most funded space agency. More recently, he served as the NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations for nearly 14 years. He is considered a reputed name in human spaceflights, so much so that the U.S. Congress has invited him aplenty to testify on the subject.
This is a significant development, and more so considering that the announced May 7 date of SpaceX’s first human spaceflight mission is just a couple of months away.
Recently, SpaceX showed of a mini clip of sorts, of the completed Crew Dragon capsule. Crew Dragon is scheduled to carry astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in SpaceX’s first human spaceflight attempt. Post this mission, SpaceX will aim towards becoming a regular ferry service for NASA to take its astronauts to space. Post a ban on NASA’s own human spaceflight program, the agency is dependent on Russia’s ROSCOSMOS to take astronauts to space.