NASA, White House

Obama: NASA administrator announcement soon, with some “hoopla”

Late Wednesday afternoon President Obama spoke with the STS-125 crew (MP3 file). Much of the talk centered around platitudes about the successful repair of the Hubble Space Telescope, but at one point in the conversation with commander Scott Altman the topic turned to the vacancy at the top of the space agency:

Obama: You know, here in Washington there’s a lot of talk about clarifying our focus, our vision for where the country needs to go. I really think that what you guys represent is an example of what vision means. The space program has always described our willingness to stretch beyond current boundaries and to look at things in new ways. So in that way you inspire us all. I’m hoping that you guys recognize how important your mission is to the world as well as to this country. We’re soon going to have a new NASA administrator. I can’t disclose it to you, because I gotta have some hoopla on the announcement back here on Earth, but I can assure you that it’s a high priority of mine to restore that sense of wonder that space can provide, and to make sure that we’ve got a strong sense of mission, not just within NASA, but for the country as a whole.

Altman: Well, we thank you very much Mr. President for your interest in NASA and in space exploration. We agree with you that this mission has, I hope, captured some of that spirit of exploration. And just so we’re sure, the new administrator’s not any of us on the flight deck right now, is it?

Obama: [Laughter] You know, I’m not going to give you any hints.

As for both who and when, NASA Watch has conflicting reports on the meeting between the president and Charles Bolden, with some sources claiming that the meeting “did not go well”, while others saying Bolden will be named “any day now”. Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Nelson continues to back Bolden, calling him the “best person in the world” for the job but professing ignorance at a couple of potential obstacles to Bolden’s nomination: Bolden’s brief stint as a lobbyist for ATK in 2005 and his service on the board of directors of GenCorp Aerojet.

7 comments to Obama: NASA administrator announcement soon, with some “hoopla”

  • common sense

    The other source “any day” for an annoucement according to NASAWatch, NOT any day for Bolden.

  • Keith Cowing

    Believe it or not Jeff, conflicting sources is the norm here (rather there) in Washington. Its Bolden. Look past the noise.

  • lostinspace

    Bolden seems like a capable administrator, but I have not seen anything to indicate any changes in direction from him. It suggest the administration is going to pretty much continue as is. Whether this will give Nelson any particular influence will be interesting to see.

  • Dave Huntsman

    Bolden seems like a capable administrator,

    What do you base that on?

    Whether qualified as an Administrator or not, there needs to be one demand that the WH, if he is their selectee, makes of him that is non-negotiable. And that is, George Abbey must remain absent from the scene – totally. Not around anywhere in an advisory capacity; to any political entity; not consulted on anything. Nothing. If Bolden won’t commit to that, then there is nothing even to talk about.

  • Sheridan

    “Senator Nelson” and “ignorance” in the same sentence. Who would ever have guessed…

  • Blue

    I’m not being disingenous in asking this question…why is George Abbey such a polarizing and hated figure? What is the specific list of complaints against him…and why does someone who is so disliked keep managing to have a say in things?

  • […] According to the Orlando Sentinel, “the buzz around the White House today is that the NASA press corps should expect a late-in-the-day announcement” that would presumably be the president’s nomination for NASA administrator. If so, the timing would be a bit odd: late in the afternoon before a three-day holiday weekend, with much of official Washington either already on vacation or about to leave to beat the rush. It would not seem to correspond with President Obama’s stated desire to have some “hoopla” about the announcement. […]

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