CNBC reports that SpaceX has hired William Gerstenmaier, who formerly headed NASA’s human spaceflight program, to serve as a consultant for the company’s reliability engineering team.
The move comes as SpaceX prepares to fly its first Crew Dragon mission with astronauts later this year. The flight test is currently scheduled for the second quarter.
The crew plans to dock with the International Space Station (ISS). A successful flight would clear the way for certification of the vehicle to fly crews to ISS on a commercial basis.
Gerstenmaier was demoted from his position as NASA associate administrator for human exploration and operations last July over continued delays with the Space Launch System and Orion programs. He had served in that position for 14 years.
Gerstenmaier’s reassignment as a special adviser to Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard was his first step out the door. He left NASA in December after 42 years with the space agency.