Former U.S. astronaut, who considered for the post of deputy administrator last year, will retire at the end of September. She’s currently serving as the director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center. The agency announced on September 10, 2019, that Kavandi would step down at the director of the research center after having worked for nearly a quarter of a century for the space agency. She’s been serving as the director of the Cleveland based center since 2006.
Kavandi, in her statement, didn’t disclose why she decided to leave the agency. She said it’s a difficult decision to end her NASA career, especially when the agency is planning to send the first woman and the next man to the moon. She said she would follow the progress of the mission as she is in transition to the next phase of her life.
Kavandi was selected to astronaut corps and joined the agency in 1994. Before serving as director of flight crew operations, she flew on three shuttle flights from 1998 to 2001.Mid 2018; she was one of the candidates for the position of the deputy administrator of the agency. The agency’s administrator Jim Bridenstine endorsed her for the post saying that her experience, education, and background made her suitable for the job.
Jim Morhard, a Senate staffer, was nominated by the White House for the post of deputy administrator in July 2018. He was confirmed in October.
People in the space industry were surprised at Kavandi’s sudden departure because they did not have any hints that she had planned to leave the agency.
NASA did not announce Kavandi’s successor and said that Glenn leadership changes would be announced later.
Kavandi’s resignation marks the departure of the second NASA director this month. David Bowles, director of the Langley Research Center, would retire at the end of September after having worked nearly four decades for the agency.