As of recent, William Gerstenmaier has ceased to be the Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. He had had this role for the past 14 years. Gerstenmaier had yielded his position to former astronaut and agency official Ken Bowersox.
The imperativeness of sending humans of the Moon and Mars
As NASA is facing more and more pressure from the higher-ups in the state to speed up the process of sending humans on the moon, it decided that a few changes in administration might be a good thing to accomplish the objective. Vice President Mike Pence urged NASA to send the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024, and as fast as possible on Mars.
Therefore, William Gerstenmaier is not Associate Administrator anymore. He was given a new position as special advisor to NASA’s deputy administrator which for Gerstenmaier, and for all of the astute people, resembles more of a downgrade than anything else. Gerstenmaier was an important part of NASA’s ambitious projects on space exploration. He was there supervising the operations on the International Space Station. He was there managing the development of the agency’s newest rocket. He was there administering the Space Launch System and the Commercial Crew program.
Hours before Gerstenmaier was demoted, he has been testifying at a House conference about the Artemis program, which targets to establish a continuous existence on the moon, exactly what Mike Pence wanted.
At the same time, NASA is currently attempting to gain the confidence of the Congress regarding the Artemis program. The decision taken by the agency in regards to the two administrators might or might not affect the outcome of the hearing. However, NASA has the support of the White House which is more than ready to take funds from the Pell Grant program to finance the lunar program. That, of course, with the Congress’ consent.
William Gerstenmaier was not the only one to be transferred. Bill Hill, another important administrator of NASA, was made special advisor. With these two changes, NASA gave up on the two of the most important people in command of human in space mission.