SHARECOMMENTMORE

ORLANDO (Florida Today) -- The former head of NASA's Commercial Crew Program Monday formally pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge that he acted improperly in a matter in which he had a financial interest.

Ed Mango could face up to five years in prison when sentenced in February or March, though his lawyers intend to seek a sentence that avoids prison time.

At the federal courthouse in Orlando this morning, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Baker questioned Mango about his understanding of his rights and the facts of the case.

Under oath, Mango pleaded guilty.

According to a plea agreement signed last month, Mango loaned an undisclosed amount of money to a NASA colleague who worked on the Commercial Crew Program when she became the subject of a criminal investigation last fall and was arrested at Kennedy Space Center last December.

He then pressured senior KSC officials to limit discipline against that colleague, who court records identify as "C.T." and "Thomas," without disclosing that he had a financial interest in her case.

Candrea Thomas, a NASA public affairs officer who served as spokeswoman for the Commercial Crew Program, was the only NASA employee arrested at KSC at that time, according to NASA. Thomas was arrested on charges of forging public documents.

Mango stepped down from his position in October. He has been reassigned to a role providing advice to the head of NASA's human spaceflight programs, Bill Gerstenmaier.

NASA has said no decision on any agency discipline of Mango would be made until the legal process is complete.

Check out some ofour mostread stories from 2013:

#shortyellows:Florida quietly shortened yellow lights

Terrorism Warning:Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights

Kittens shot:Officer shoots kittens in front of children

Courtroom apology:Woman apologizes for flipping off judge

Weird ice:Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond

Controversial Club:College student organizes "White Student Union"

CFO Trouble:School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog

Warning Shot Wife:Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband

Science Arrest:Teen girl arrested over science project explosion

Wait, WHAT??Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun

Popular photo galleries:

Faces of Meth:Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers

Travon Martin Shooting:Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos

Hooters Winners:Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant

Rejected:Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***

Deadly sinkhole:Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole

Popular Databases:

Florida Sex Offenders:Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here

Restaurant Inspections:Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here

SHARECOMMENTMORE