Trump Sets Dubious New Space Record on Independence Day

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

President Donald Trump has set a new record relating to NASA.

Some are skeptical of the White House’s soaring rhetoric because crucial leadership positions remain unfilled.

For instance, the US space agency set a dubious record on the Fourth of July: the longest span of time that a newly elected president has gone without naming a new NASA chief.

The previous record was a 164-day stretch in 1971 under President Richard Nixon.

NASA is currently headed by an “acting administrator” — engineer Robert Lightfoot, who took over when former astronaut Charles Bolden, an Obama appointee, stepped down.

Also empty is the chief of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology and Policy, once a key player in crafting NASA’s agenda.

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  • JamesG

    But yet the wheels haven’t fallen off of NASA yet. Imagine that.

  • Paul_Scutts

    Yes, James, methinks mainly due to the organisation moving slower than it’s famous (old) crawler/transporters. 🙂 Regards, Paul.

  • JamesG

    NASA pretty much only has one speed “glacial”, no matter who is at the wheel. That’s how Congress wants it.

  • therealdmt

    Only 3 1/2 years to go, Baby…

  • redneck

    6 months with no administrator, and a record launch cadence. Maybe he’s onto something.

  • JamesG

    You should just go ahead and get ready for 7 1/2 years to save yourself the rending of flesh and gnashing of teeth.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    I’m going to start melting some butter for my popcorn when the righties start complaining that the NASA research centers start doing their own thing independent of the White House via the Congress. No doubt they’ll cry “deep state”.

  • Jeff2Space

    What record launch cadence? We’re talking about NASA here, and I see precious few NASA launches so far for 2017.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_in_spaceflight

  • redneck

    National record with NASA being a footnote. Without an administrator, things are happening that should have happened decades ago.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Ninety-five percent of government tends to always be on auto-pilot. Most bureaucracies tend to ignore their politically appointed leaders as much a possible knowing they will be gone with the next election, so its not surprising its not impacted by having an interim one. Indeed, the bureaucrats are probably glad there is no one like a Goldin or Griffin to create problems for them.

    Also don’t forget the bureaucrats at NASA also tend to have a track record of ignoring the Presidents as well. When President Bush said they were going to the Moon First, then on to Mars they mostly ignored the Moon part, treating it as just a optional training mission. When President Obama told them to go to an Asteroid then on to Mars they treated the Asteroid part the same way.

  • JamesG

    Well Mars was/is always the brass ring these programs are notionally aimed for, even though none of them would ever get there and everyone knew it.

  • Jeff2Space

    Without an administrator, everything at NASA is just going along as it was (bureaucratic inertia). I honestly don’t see much “change” as a result of NASA missing an administrator. What’s happening today was set in motion 5, 10, or more years ago.