SpaceX is just a few months shy from launching its first astronauts into space. Now that they have one of the greatest experts in human spaceflight among their ranks, the hope is that the launch will be successful.
Who is William Gerstenmaier?
Gerstenmaier has worked with NASA for four decades. During the last 14 years, he's been the agency's Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations.
He's worked on programs that range from the Space Shuttle all the way to the International Space Station (ISS) and is widely thought to be one of the top specialists when it comes to flying humans into space.
Поздравляю компанию @SpaceX с приглашением на работу выдающегося специалиста-инженера, бывшего руководителя пилотируемой программы @NASA William Gerstenmaier. Билл внёс огромный вклад в успех проекта #МКС .— Дмитрий Рогозин (@Rogozin) February 11, 2020
Желаю своему другу успехов на новом месте работы!https://t.co/E0xTaFxdAm
Now, Gerstenmaier has begun working for SpaceX at their headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
His new role involves him reporting to SpaceX's vice president of missions assurance, Hans Koenigsmann. The timing couldn't be more perfect given SpaceX's plans to launch its first astronauts into space in just a few months' time.
According to CNBC, a SpaceX spokesperson has confirmed that Gerstenmaier is a consultant for their reliability engineering team.
As the news may be shocking to some, it's not entirely surprising. After NASA demoted Gerstenmaier last July, it makes sense that he would look into the private side of space exploration. When the NASA change of position occurred no explanation was offered to the public, and NASA's administrator Jim Bridenstine only thanked him for "the strategic vision for some of NASA’s most important efforts."
After 40 years of working with one agency, you'd hope for a better send-off.
Perhaps his welcome at SpaceX makes up for it. He'll be kept busy as the company is in the midst of sending their astronauts into space as part of the "Demo-2" mission. The plan is for two astronauts to fly in a Crew Dragon capsule to the ISS.