NASA forms new directorate

Aug. 12, 2011 at 2:32 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. space agency NASA is creating a directorate that will focus on International Space Station operations and human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

The organization -- the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate -- combines the Space Operations and Exploration Systems mission directorates.

"America is opening a bold new chapter in human space exploration," National Aeronautics and Space Administration Administrator Charles Bolden said.

"By combining the resources of Space Operations and Exploration Systems and creating the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, we are recommitting ourselves to American leadership in space for years to come."

NASA said the directorate more fully integrates the operation of NASA's in-space assets and current capabilities with planning for the agency's future, including the size and type of the work force, facilities and contracts.

The directorate also will manage commercial crew and cargo developmental programs; construction of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a spacecraft designed to travel beyond low Earth orbit; development of a new heavy-lift rocket, known as the Space Launch System; and other programs within the directorates.

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