Veteran astronauts and Flight Crew Operations Directorate managers Ken Bowersox and Kent Rominger have announced intentions to depart from NASA.

Both will be vacating their current positions later this month. Pending his retirement from the Navy, Bowersox will move to a position supporting Michael Coats, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Rominger will leave the agency in September to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.

“Ken and Kent have each made invaluable contributions to space exploration and to this country,” said Coats. “Their dedication and leadership have been a key contribution to the safe return of the space shuttle to flight and to the resumption of the International Space Station’s assembly in orbit. We’ll miss them and we wish them the best.”

Astronaut Ellen Ochoa will become director of flight crew operations. Ochoa has served as deputy director of flight crew operations since 2003. She will be the first female and the first Hispanic to lead that office, which oversees the Astronaut Office and Aircraft Operations. Ochoa is a veteran of four spaceflights.

Succeeding Ochoa as deputy director of flight crew operations will be astronaut Mike Bloomfield, a veteran of three space shuttle flights including commander of STS-110. Astronaut Steve Lindsey, who commanded space shuttle mission STS-121 in July, will become chief of the Astronaut Office. Lindsey has flown four shuttle missions.

Bowersox became the director of flight crew operations in February 2004 after four shuttle flights and a long-duration mission on the International Space Station. He served as a commander of both the space shuttle and the International Space Station and led on-orbit activities in science operations, Hubble Space Telescope servicing and space station operations.

Rominger has served as chief of the Astronaut Office since 2002. He has completed five shuttle flights, commanding two and serving as pilot on three. He has logged more than 1,600 hours in space. His missions included two shuttle flights to the International Space Station. Rominger also flew on both the longest and second longest shuttle missions in history.

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