NASA names new Orion program manager

NASA said it has appointed Mark Kirasich to be manager of the agency´s Orion program.

The Orion spacecraft is being developed to send astronauts to deep space destinations, such as an asteroid and ultimately to Mars, launching on the agency´s Space Launch System rocket.

Kirasich has been deputy Orion Program manager since 2006. He now will be responsible for oversight of design, development and testing of the Orion spacecraft, as well as spacecraft manufacturing already under way at locations across the country and in Europe for the ESA (European Space Agency).

Kirasich began his NASA career in 1983 at the agency´s Johnson Space Center in Houston as a member of the space shuttle flight operations team, quickly advancing to the position of lead space shuttle payload officer in mission control. In 1996, he was selected as a flight director in charge of planning and executing NASA human spaceflight missions, serving in that capacity for multiple space shuttle missions and International Space Station expeditions.

Kirasich succeeds Mark Geyer, who became Johnson´s deputy director in August.