Wonder what that’s about?

Hope this doesn’t affect the launch schedule. He was supposed to chair it, I think.

[Update a while later]

Here is the story from Chris Davenport.

[Update a while more later]

And the one from Jackie Feldscher.

[Update few minutes later]

And Eric Berger’s.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Here’s Eric’s latest take. If Loverro really believed that the only way to do 2024 was with Boeing and SLS, he was in the wrong job.


16 thoughts on “Loverro”

  1. Congresscritters will start to wonder what kind of dirt this guy had on Bridenstine. What we need is another Congressional investigation to get to the bottom of these shenanigans. Ah, the smell of 2020!

  2. “It is clear that I made a mistake in that choice for which I alone must bear the consequences.”

    Boeing’s revenge for being left out of the Artemis lander selection?

    1. I have no idea what’s behind the events, but I did find it kind of odd that someone came from an NRO background to head HSF. I would think the path for that would be a career in various aspects of manned space flight missions, even thought that might mean a very Shuttle-centric, set-in-stone mode of thinking.

      1. Doug is a very forward-thinking individual, and in my experience, an enthusiastic supporter of commercial space transportation. He’s technical, but a strategic thinker. V-Man’s proposition is more in the direction I would lean, though I can’t think of what the mechanics would have been.

        1. I’m suspecting something of a nature of an entangling business investiture (aka conflict of interest) that some Congress critter (Boeing) was threatening to expose, leaving Bridenstein little choice.

          1. Here’s a wild guess based on nothing.

            I’m wondering if perhaps the NRO sometimes uses odd contractual arrangements to expedite national security programs as a standard matter of course, and that those same type of arrangements wouldn’t pass muster outside of classified defense programs. This storyline (that I just dreamed up) would have him making a deal that was a no-brainer in his past environment, but a big no-no in his current environment, or perhaps leave a public paper trail that would allow a peak into how some of the NRO contracts look.

            Or maybe he was banging a hot Boeing marketing gal.

          2. Well what I was really thinking was it was accidental. Either an investment that had been forgotten about that looks really bad OR perhaps the action of a close relative that also looks really bad.

            Now appears it might be neither. But still leaves it somewhat unclear in my mind. Speeding is against the law, but there are different penalties for speeding vs speeding the wrong way on a one way street.

  3. I know nothing of Doug Loverro, but I agree with Wayne Hale that Ken Bowersox will be fine.

    1. Sox will definitely do a good job, but he did spend some time at SpaceX so be prepared for the fake news headlines like “Trump’s NASA fires head of human space flight and installs ex-SpaceX employee days before test flight!”

      Courtesy of our friends at the media/Democrat/muslim/socialist conspiracy headquarters.

  4. What mistake? Nothing’s gone wrong yet! If this is about the Boeing test flight – test flights are *supposed* to uncover failures.

    1. It may be because he broke the unwritten rule that “Thou shall cut Boeing in on the action.” Boeing is spending $400 million to refly their commercial crew capsule and I doubt they volunteered to do that. Then, they were cut out of the action for Lunar Gateway, including what some consider derogatory (because it’s true) comments, and finally, Boeing’s bid for the crew lunar lander wasn’t selected. Boeing has the best politicians money can buy on their side.

  5. This means Loverro likely favored the design of Boeing’s bid for a Human Landing System, which entailed launching an integrated lander on a “commercial” Space Launch System rocket. It seems reasonable to assume that Loverro may have been pushing Boeing to come up with a more competitive bid.

    Communication between NASA and contract bidders is forbidden? Having a preference bias but not a conflict of interest could lead to a bad decision but one that is criminal or violates some regulation? There is a bit of arbitrary fudge in all of these things.

    But if that really was the reason he stepped down, let’s see more career government workers act with the same integrity.

  6. Passing crib notes to Boeing now looks to be the likeliest explanation for Loverro’s departure. Loverro is well-known to be an opponent of distributed launch and to favor unitary payloads. That was rumored to be the nature of Boeing’s HLS proposal, though it would need both at least an SLS Block 1B with the thus far undesigned EUS to do the job of lofting the equally undesigned lander.

    In fairness, Loverro seems vendor-agnostic anent his predilections. He was the main force behind the recently announced plan to ground-integrate the Gateway PPE and HALO modules for launch as a unit on a rocket that’s pretty much going to have to be a Falcon Heavy.

    I think his heart was in the right place, but his technical judgement is certainly open to question in addition to his ethical judgement. He did some good while running HEOMD, but it also appears it is most likely a net plus for NASA and Artemis that he is now gone.

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