ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A former high-level NASA manager who was responsible for helping the private sector develop spacecraft pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to a conflict-of-interest charge.
Edward Mango, 52, could face up to five years in prison when he is sentenced next year.
Mango loaned money to a fellow NASA employee who was facing criminal charges to help the employee hire an attorney. He also urged the director and human resources director of the Kennedy Space Center to be lenient on the employee, who was facing disciplinary action stemming from the arrest, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release and court documents.
The law under which Mango was charged provides penalties for government officials in the executive branch if they advise or help influence a decision in a matter in which they have a financial interest.
Mango had been the program manager for the commercial crew program at the Kennedy Space Center. The program's goal is to help the private sector develop spacecraft that eventually can take equipment and astronauts to the international space station.
He also was the launch director for the first flight test of the Ares rocket, which is being developed to launch NASA's next-generation spacecraft.