WASHINGTON — Steve Altemus has left his position as deputy director of the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston and will be replaced by Kirk Shireman, who had been deputy manager for the international space station program, a NASA spokesman said.

Altemus, who had been with the agency since 2006, left his post as JSC’s No. 2 this month, spokesman Josh Byerly said in a July 9 email. “Kirk is transitioning now,” and his official first day as deputy director will be “at the end of the month,” Byerly said. He declined to provide exact dates.

Altemus, meanwhile, will head up a new Houston-based subsidiary of Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT) Inc. called Intuitive Machines. 

“Our goal is to be the premier provider of disruptive intelligent machine engineering solutions to conquer the toughest technical challenges in aerospace, medicine, and energy,” Altemus said in a July 10 press release on Intuitive Machines’ website.

The company also “ will be doing space robotics based on technologies they are pulling out of [Johnson] and other places,” said Walt Faulconer, president of Columbia, Md.-based consulting firm Strategic Space Solutions, which includes SGT and Intuitive Machines among its clients.

Dan Leone is the NASA reporter for SpaceNews, where he also covers other civilian-run U.S. government space programs and a growing number of entrepreneurial space companies. He joined SpaceNews in 2011.Dan earned a bachelor's degree in public communications...