FILE PHOTO: Workers pressure wash the logo of NASA on the Vehicle Assembly Building before SpaceX will send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Falcon 9 rocket, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., May 19, 2020. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

(Reuters) – NASA’s human spaceflight chief Doug Loverro resigned on Tuesday, according to an internal memo seen by agency employees, capping his brief role at the agency overseeing future astronaut launches and landing humans on the moon by 2024.

“Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Doug Loverro has resigned from his position effective Monday, May 18,” said the memo sent to employees on Tuesday, adding that Ken Bowersox, NASA’s deputy associate administrator, will take Loverro’s place until a permanent replacement is found.

The resignation comes just a week before the agency is scheduled to launch two astronauts into space from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011. 

A NASA spokesperson declined to comment.  

Loverro took the post in October last year to helm NASA’s efforts to return humans to the lunar surface by 2024, a hastened timeline set by the Trump administration in 2019. The reason for his resignation was not immediately clear. 

Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Dan Grebler

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