Former Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach will lead United Launch Alliance's human spaceflight operations, the company announced today.
Leinbach left NASA in November to end a 27-year career at Kennedy Space Center, where he had served as the shuttle launch director since 2000.
"We are fortunate to have Mike with his wealth of human spaceflight experience join the ULA team," George Sowers, ULA's vice president of business development, said in a statement. "His background in leading overall space shuttle launch activities for more than a decade, executing 37 space shuttle launches, will be invaluable as we develop human spaceflight capabilities for our Atlas and Delta systems."
ULA's Atlas V is the likely launch vehicle for three of the four crew vehicles now under development with NASA funding, including a Blue Origin capsule, Boeing's CST-100 capsule, and Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser.
ULA also launches Delta IV and Delta II rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Vandenberg Air Force Station.
"Mike's expertise in human launch systems provides a strong synergy in bringing together two world-class launch cultures,” said Jerry Jamison, ULA's vice president of launch operations.
IMAGE: On July 8, 2011, in Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center, Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach (right), Assistant Launch Director Pete Nickolenko and NASA Public Affairs Officer George Diller applaud the successful final launch of a space shuttle, Atlantis' STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett