In a bid to focus on operations closer to Earth, NASA is splitting its human spaceflight department into two separate parts. The first one would be centered on big missions to the Moon and Mars in the future, and the second on the International Space Station.

The announcement regarding this decision was made by NASA chief Bill Nelson on Tuesday. It shows NASA’s evolving relations with private companies like SpaceX, especially after NASA’s monopoly over spaceflight for as long as we’ve seen spaceships exit the Earth’s atmosphere.

@SenBillNelson and other senior NASA leaders shared organizational changes during a @NASA Town Hall today that will set the stage for the next 20 years,” tweeted NASA headquarters team.

The decision came after a recent expansion of flights and commercial investment in low-earth orbit, said Nelson. ” Today is more than organizational change. It’s setting the stage for the next 20 years, it’s defining NASA’s future in a growing space,” he added at a presser.

The move breaks up NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, currently headed by Kathy Leuders, into two separate branches. Workers pressure wash the logo of NASA on the Vehicle Assembly Building.

“This approach with two areas focused on human spaceflight allows one mission directorate to operate in space while the other builds future space systems,” said NASA in a press statement.

SpaceX has recently launched the first all-civilian crew to ever reach orbit and returned them to Earth safely and has also flown numerous payloads of cargo to the International Space Station for NASA’s researches.

Also read: SpaceX: Rookies all set for space exploration mission Inspiration4

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