Even after a month he reassigned head of human spaceflight division, Jim Bridenstine of NASA, stated that it will take weeks to appoint a successor. During a press conference recently at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Bridenstine stated that the agency was still carrying out a broad search for associate administrator to replace Bill Gerstenmaier, who had been assigned another role as special advisor. Bridenstine said they are making a nationwide search to find an appropriate individual for the role. He stated that they made a long list of potential candidates as only limited people in the country have the required background for the role.
In fact Bridenstine insisted that few people on earth have experience of human spaceflight mission and of managing large programs. The selection team will only now start narrowing down the field in forthcoming weeks and after that they will announce a name in near future. After resignation of Gerstenmaier last month the human exploration and operations mission directorate is being run on an acting basis by Ken Bowersox. Bridenstine stated that though Bowersox is doing a good job till now he cannot confirm if the man is being considered for a permanent role.
Bridenstine also stated that he has no option but to hold off some decisions about exploration programs like revised launch date for Space Launch System’s first flight until they are able to find a new associate administrator and also a deputy associate administrator for exploration system. This occurred as Bill Hill was reassigned to another position during the same period as Gerstenmaier. The White House recently presented an amendment that it will require an additional $1.6 billion of which $1 billion would be needed to start building lunar landers that will help to land astronauts on the moon by 2024. Bridenstine stated that his team is working towards getting this required funding and has spoken to Congress members on both sides and built a strong bipartisan to support this funding.