The NASA executive will cease weeks after their appointment to direct a 2024 moon landing plan

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – NASA's chief hired hire in April to guide strategy to bring astronauts back to the moon by 2024 and resigned, the space agency said on Thursday, the outcome of the internal submission and a reduction in proportionate support for the lunar initiative.

Mark Sirangelo, who was named six weeks ago as a special assistant for NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left the agency as NASA abandoned an organized plan because of a cold reception on Capitol Hill, said Bridenstine in a statement.

Two people close to the space program who were aware of the fact that Sirangelo was escorted from NASA's headquarters in Washington after his resignation.

Its departure came after the NASA proposal was rejected by lawmakers to create a separate directorate within the space agency to oversee future moon missions and ultimately develop Mars' s exploration.

“The proposal was not accepted at this time, so we move forward under our current organizational structure within the Directorate of Human Exploration and Operations Mission,” said Bridenstine.

“As NASA is no longer undertaking the new mission of the mission, Mark chose to pursue other opportunities,” he said.

The Trump administration last week asked Congress to increase $ 1.6 billion to NASA's spending next year to meet the accelerated target of bringing Americans back on the moon by 2024 – more t more than half a century after the elimination of a lunar program.

The latest initiative was given the title of Artemis, after the goddess of debt and the moon in Greek mythology and two Apollo sisters.

NASA aimed to return crew spacecraft to the moon surface by 2028, having installed a “Gateway” station in orbit around the moon by 2024. However, there was little enthusiasm for the additional funding. from congressional appropriations.

The two people who knew the subject said that Sirangelo's ouster was released with greater doubt that 2024 was a realistic deadline for astronauts landing back on the moon.

Bridenstine said on Thursday that the space agency was still investigating what organizational changes within NASA's current structure were “necessary to maximize efficiencies and to end the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024). . ”

NASA announced earlier on Thursday that it chose the space technology company, Maxar Technologies Inc, as the first contractor to help build the “Gateway”.

Reported by Joey Roulette at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Additional reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in New York Editing by Steve Gorman and Clarence Fernandez

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