UM space researchers presenting at 50th anniversary moon landing event

Bill Gerstenmaier seen in a file

To meet this "bold challenge", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said in an email to employees that Bill Gerstenmaier, head of the agency's Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) missions directorate, has been removed from his position and assigned an advisory role, the Washington Post and other USA news outlets.

Two top House Democrats panned Bridenstine's decision to remove Gerstenmaier from his leadership role.

NASA has replaced the head of its human space exploration directorate in a major shake-up, United States media reported on Wednesday, as the agency scrambles to meet President Donald Trump's ambitious deadline to return astronauts to the moon by 2024.

Instead, Bridenstine said, Gerstenmaier will serve as special assistant to NASA's Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard.

On April 11, 1970, NASA astronaut Fred Haise was preparing to follow in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and walk on the surface of the Moon.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said there was nothing wrong with what Gerstenmaier was doing.

In response, Bridenstine told CNN in the statement, "Chairwoman Johnson is a great member of Congress for NASA".

Baker fired for making an honest mistake in Moana/marijuana cake mix-up
She told USA Today she made the cake after her manager, who she says misheard Davis' mother, told her it was OK. The incident occurred when Kensli Davis, now 25, asked her mother for a Moana-themed birthday cake.

He promised to work with her and other members "to achieve our mutual goals in science and exploration".

Vice President Mike Pence earlier this year directed NASA to speed up its return to the moon dramatically - by four years, to 2024 - a move that took many in the agency by surprise.

The high-profile executive changes at NASA came at a time when the space agency is working on the new moonshot program named Artemis.

Gerstenmaier appeared to favor test firing the mammoth rocket's first stage, powered by four upgraded space shuttle main engines, at NASA's Stennis Space Center in MS next year to make sure the booster met its design specifications.

The new timeline gives NASA only five years to acquire the hardware and funds it needs.

Artemis would be NASA's first attempt to land humans to the moon since the last Apollo landing in 1972.

The Artemis mission could send people to the lunar surface for the first time in half a century.

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