Rominger resigns, Lindsey to replace

by Chris Bergin

STS-121 Commander Steve Lindsey will become the new Chief of the Astronaut Office, replacing Kent Rominger – who is resigning from NASA.

The changes will take affect on October 1, which will also see Michael Bloomfield has been named the Deputy of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate.

Rominger, a US Navy Captain who served in Desert Storm onboard the USS Nimitz, was selected soon after by NASA in 1992. He went on to log over 1,600 hours in space, flying as pilot on STS-73 (1995), STS-80 (1996) and STS-85 (1997), and was crew commander on STS-96 (1999) and STS-100 (2001).
The reason for Rominger’s decision to resign is not clear, although it is thought he’ll be heading to a position with a NASA contractor. 

“Steve Lindsey will be replacing Kent Rominger as the Chief of the Astronaut Office,” noted the short NASA memo acquired by this site, announcing the news. “Michael Bloomfield has been named the Deputy of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate. These changes take affect October 1.”
Lindsey, who turns 46 this week, is a Colonel with the US Air Force. He was selected by NASA in March 1995 and became an astronaut in May 1996. He served as pilot on STS-87 in 1997 and STS-95 in 1998, and was the mission commander on STS-104 in 2001 and STS-121.

Before heading into space with Discovery on STS-121, Lindsey offered some of his thoughts on his career path with NASA, noting how “fortunate” his rise up the ranks with both the Air Force and NASA has been.
“I always wanted to be an engineer, to go to engineering school. And, I wanted to fly airplanes. I found out, when I was in high school, about a place called the Air Force Academy, which would basically allow you to do both. So, I applied and was fortunate enough to get accepted,” he noted to

“I went to the Air Force Academy, got a degree in engineering from that school, and then went to pilot training. After pilot training, I got to fly fighters in the Air Force for several years. After flying for a while, I was looking for a job where I could combine the education I had gotten with flying. The fit seemed maybe to become an experimental test pilot. So, I applied to Test Pilot School and was fortunate enough to get accepted to that.
“Along the way, the Air Force sent me to graduate school, to get a graduate degree in engineering. Then I became a test pilot after going through Test Pilot School and did that for several years. Again I found myself qualified for this program, decided to apply, and was fortunate enough to get accepted again.”

Lindsey also noted that his upbringing has helped guide him to going after whatever he’s wanted to achieve – and to being the very best through hard work.

“I certainly watched the early Mercury astronauts and the Apollo astronauts, and they were role models to me, as they were to many other people,” he added. “Probably the people most influential in everything I’ve done, they were my parents, not necessarily pushing me to become an astronaut, but pushing me to do the very best I could and go after whatever it is I wanted to — go after it and work hard for it.”

Once Lindsey sits down in his new office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, he will be tasked with finalising the latter half of the Shuttle crew manifest, likely starting with the crew selection for STS-125 – the final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope – which is due to be announced in October.

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