Gary Anderson retired from NASA on Saturday, marking a departure from his position as operations manager of the Orion spacecraft program.
The NASA veteran will lead Orion, a deep-space vehicle that is designed to carry humans and other cargo to low-Earth orbit.
It will fly to its final destination of the Moon in 2026.
NASA announced the retirement of Anderson in May, but the agency has kept his retirement under wraps.
The Orion program has struggled to achieve the budget and schedule it needed for the first five years of the program.
“We want to thank Gary for all he has done for the Orion program,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, Orion program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
“He has been an integral part of the team that has helped us achieve milestones and accomplish our missions over the past four years.”
Anderson’s retirement will be announced at a news conference on Friday.
In the meantime, NASA will be preparing for a new era of human exploration in deep space.
“NASA will now be leading a new, exciting and challenging phase in human exploration that will span the entire Solar System, including a new human spaceflight capability and a new class of human explorers,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden in a statement.
“As the agency’s human space program continues to move forward, we look forward to working with NASA to continue to unlock new possibilities in human space exploration.”
In the coming years, the Orion crewed crewed vehicle will carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, but NASA is also planning for a deep space crewed mission to Mars, and a manned mission to the Moon.
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, which is slated for launch in 2022, will include a mission to a lunar landing site and landing on the Red Planet.
The agency has also started work on the first crewed Orion mission to an asteroid.
NASA is planning to launch the Orion mission for a second Orion flight sometime next year.
The next Orion mission, the Mars 2020, is scheduled for launch sometime in 2025.
The first Orion mission will be Orion 2, which will be a crewed flight to Mars.
The two Orion flights will also be the first to carry a spacecraft to the surface of Mars.