Kathy Lueders joined NASA in 1992 and has worked with the space shuttle and International Space Station programs.

Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders speaks during a NASA press conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US on September 16, 2014.
Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders speaks during a NASA press conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US on September 16, 2014. (AFP)

NASA has named commercial crew program manager Kathy Lueders its next associate administrator of human exploration and operations.

Lueders, who joined NASA in 1992, oversaw the May 30 launch of two astronauts on a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station – the first-ever crewed commercial flight into space.

She has for years been in charge of the exhaustive testing program for space capsules developed by SpaceX, Boeing and other companies that are partnering with NASA to build vessels that can safely take humans into space.

"You can never sell this NASA and SpaceX team short, they've accomplished miracles for me," Lueders said in a briefing before last month's launch.

The program to develop commercial space flight programs for NASA was launched a decade ago under the administration of then-president Barack Obama, marking a dramatic change for the space agency, which had previously designed and built its own rockets and space vehicles.

NASA's schedule, set by the administration of US President Donald Trump, aims to put two astronauts, including the first woman, on the Moon in 2024 using the heavy SLS rocket and the Orion capsule.

But the program is behind schedule and NASA has not made the final decision as to which company will build the Moon lander.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies