Former NASA Chief of Staff John Schumacher is leaving U.S. propulsion firm Aerojet to join his former boss Sean O’Keefe at EADS North America, the Arlington, Va.-based subsidiary of Europe’s biggest defense contractor.

EADS North American announced April 7 that Schumacher is joining the company as vice president of its space business. Schumacher joined Sacramento, Calif.-based Aerojet in 2006 as its vice president of Washington operations. Schumacher, a former NASA associate administrator for external relations, served as chief of staff during O’Keefe’s tenure as NASA administrator. Aerojet spokesman Glenn Mahone, another of O’Keefe’s former senior NASA advisers, has been named Schumacher’s interim replacement at Aerojet.

O’Keefe left NASA in early 2005 and became EADS North America’s chief executive officer in November 2009 following stints at General Electric and Louisiana State University, where he was chancellor.

O’Keefe said in a statement that Schumacher “will take the lead in expanding EADS’ U.S. presence and in leveraging the company’s broad Space product and technology offerings to meet the needs of our U.S. customers.”

EADS’s space division is led by Astrium, which builds the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicles for resupplying the international space station and is the lead contractor for Europe’s Ariane rocket.

Also joining EADS North America is Reinhold Lutz, who will serve as a special adviser supporting marketing, business development and production introduction efforts for the space business. Lutz previously was Astrium’s head of corporate executive strategy and business development, as well as managing director of Astrium GmbH in Ottobrunn, Germany.