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A Car Parade, All Hands and New Leadership for Space Station


Catherine Ragin Williams |
July 1, 2020

Honk if you appreciate great leadership!

On June 26, International Space Station Program Manager Kirk Shireman retired from NASA after 35 years of dedicated service to pursue another opportunity in the commercial sector, though he will still be working toward NASA’s charge to return to the Moon. Just a day before at about 5 p.m., the station team members organized a car parade to bid him a hearty farewell, albeit safely tucked inside their vehicles due to ongoing social-distancing challenges presented with the coronavirus pandemic.

Many made the trip around the horseshoe lot in front of Building 1 to recognize Shireman and thank him for his five years at the helm of station. More than 50 cars made up the parade, which was made possible by NASA Johnson Space Center’s leadership team and help from Security. Car parades have become all the rage in the last few months, and this one was no exception — showing that many smaller vehicles, when assembled, can pay homage to a leader who has helped to enable the success of one very large vehicle orbiting low-Earth orbit in pursuit of science, discovery and further exploration.


Before the car parade, Shireman assembled the station team together for one last All Hands (of the virtual kind), and shared his thoughts on the “State of the Station.”


Watch it below.

Days later, on June 30, NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Kathy Lueders named Joel Montalbano as manager of the International Space Station Program. The appointment was effective June 29 following the June 26 retirement of Shireman.

“The International Space Station has allowed us to accelerate the power of a space economy in low-Earth orbit throughout the past 20 years,” said Mark Geyer, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, home to the space station program office. “Joel brings a wealth of knowledge to this new role, and I know the program will continue to thrive under his leadership.”

For more on Montalbano’s announcement, click here.