Elon Musk’s SpaceX hires former NASA official Kathy Lueders

Kathy Leuders, formerly NASA associate administrator of the Space Operations Mission Directorate, before speaking to press on May 30 following SpaceX’s launch of the Demo-2 mission.

Kim Shiflett/NASA

Kathy Lueders, the most recent top human spaceflight official at NASA, has joined Elon Musk’s SpaceX after retiring from the agency a couple of weeks ago, CNBC has learned.

Lueders will work out of the company’s “Starbase” facility in Texas and report directly to SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell as general manager, people familiar with the matter told CNBC.

It’s a key hire for SpaceX as the company aims to make its massive Starship rocket safe to fly people in the coming years. Lueders, a respected expert in the sector, is already familiar with the company’s human spaceflight work to date.

The SpaceX Starship lifts off from the launchpad during a flight test from Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, on April 20, 2023.

Patrick T Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

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