Mike Suffredini, manager of NASA’s International Space Station program, is stepping down after 10 years overseeing the lab’s final assembly and transition to post-shuttle operations, the agency said Wednesday. Kirk Shireman, deputy director of the Johnson Space Center, will take over as program manager.
Three new space station residents blasted off Wednesday on a fast-track six-hour pursuit of the orbiting research complex, kicking off five months in space. The U.S.-Russian-Japanese space crew lifted off at 2102 GMT (5:02 p.m. EDT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and docking occurred 0245 GMT (10:45 p.m. EDT).
Speaking publicly for the first time since a Falcon 9 rocket failure that destroyed a Dragon cargo capsule for the International Space Station, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Tuesday that engineers are still piecing together what happened during the June 28 accident in hopes of announcing more details within a few days.