According to an August 29, 2013 post on SpacePolicyOnline.com, two space experts, one generally aligned with Republicans, one who has advised Democrats, combined in a teleconference to criticize NASA’s lack of direction during the Obama administration.
“Pace has a long career in and out of government, including high ranking positions at NASA and the White House under Republican Administrations and was a top NASA official under the George W. Bush administration. Today he is Director of GWU’s Space Policy Institute.
“Logsdon is considered the ‘dean’ of space policy and published his first book on President John F. Kennedy’s decision to go the Moon in 1970. A GWU professor since that era, he founded the Space Policy Institute and is now a professor emeritus there. He recently authored a new book about Kennedy’s role in the Apollo program and is now writing one on President Richard Nixon’s post-Apollo decisions.”
Pace used the phrase “sense of drift,” echoing the characterization of this writer, to describe what is going on at NASA. He suggested that President Obama’s decision to cancel a return to the moon and instead send astronauts to an asteroid was a mistake. Returning to the moon would garner international support and participation, according to Pace, something not true for the asteroid mission.
Logsdon took the longer view, suggesting that there had been a lack of consensus on the direction of the civil space program since the end of Apollo, 40 years ago. He sees no obvious solution to repairing that situation.
Both experts hit the administration on how it rolled out the cancellation of Constellation, surprising and angering Congress on both sides of the aisle, and creating a compromise that is not only unsatisfactory but contradictory in that it requires NASA to obey both the president and Congress, which have differing views about what the direction of the space program should be. They also noted that NASA has not been given the funding it needs to carry out its various mandates.