Mike Suffredini, a well-known NASA administrator and spokesperson during its International Space Station missions, is stepping down for an unspecified position in private industry.
Suffredini will be replaced as ISS program manager by Kirk Shireman, who has served as deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston since 2013 and previously was deputy ISS program manager from 2006 to 2013.
“Kirk brings considerable space station experience to this new leadership role,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.
“He will manage the overall development, integration and operation of the program. Kirk will work directly with the program’s international partners to ensure safe and reliable operation of the orbiting laboratory and foster scientific research that benefits humanity and helps prepare us for our journey to Mars.”
During his previous NASA tenure, Shireman also served as the chair of the ISS Mission Management Team and managed various offices in NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.
Said Gerstenmaier of the exiting Suffredini: “During Mike’s tenure as head of the program, the international project successfully completed construction and transitioned into a fully functional microgravity laboratory. Under his leadership, the station opened avenues for a new commercial marketplace in space and established a platform for groundbreaking research.”
Suffredini joined NASA in 1989 and was named ISS program manager in August 2005. Immediately prior to being named to the ISS post, he was deputy program manager at the Johnson Space Center.