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What’s Our Vector, Victor?

Posted on March 3, 2013 by Paul Spudis

The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space recently held a hearing on a proposal to change how the NASA Administrator is selected and the agency is monitored. The bill (HR 823, The Space Leadership Preservation Act of 2013) is co-sponsored by five Republican Congressmen. It is a revised version of a similar proposal from the last Congress. In brief, it would establish a committee composed of “space experts” jointly selected by Congress and the Administration. This committee would nominate three candidates from which a NASA Administrator would be selected to serve a fixed six-year term (the last version called for a ten-year term). The new group would also monitor the agency’s progress in implementing whatever long-range direction was selected for the civil space program.

Although many details of this proposal remain obscure, I find the motivation for it interesting. Clearly, it stems from a belief that the current direction of the agency is aimless, unacceptable and in need of independent oversight. Moreover, I take the proposal for a committee-nominated administrator as a not-so-subtle rebuke to the current management of the agency. How and why did we arrive at this sorry state of affairs?

Read more: What’s Our Vector, Victor? | Spudis Lunar Resources.

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