Former Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., leveraging his long term relationship with President Joe Biden, is pushing hard to become the next NASA administrator, but critics say the 78-year-old is out of touch.
"Nelson would be a disaster," a space insider told The Washington Free Beacon.
And the Obama administration's former NASA deputy administrator said "now is not the time to turn back the clock at NASA," per the report.
But Nelson is "pushing hard" for the role, according to reports, despite his age, old philosophies, and past failures on space initiatives.
"The agency has been at its best when it has worked to create new commercial capabilities that it can then leverage in its science mission," Center for Growth and Opportunity researcher at Utah State University Eli Dourado told the Free Beacon. "Nelson has made a career of opposing this approach, instead favoring big-dollar programs that create jobs in Florida."
As a longtime Florida politician, Nelson does have a history with NASA, even earning a spot on a space shuttle mission in 1986 and writing a 1988 memoir "Mission: An American Congressman's Voyage to Space."
"If I was going to speak about the space program accurately in Congress, I wanted to feel what the astronauts felt," Nelson said.
But not all the experience is of the positive variety. Nelson is linked to the failed Space Launch System (SLS), an expendable launch vehicle which has been in the works for more than a decade and has cost $20 billion but is yet to launch, per the report.
"We don't need a rocket made of re-tread space shuttle parts," a space insider told the Free Beacon.
Also, the old, white male Nelson does not fit in with the Biden administration's diversity goals, where a woman might have been sought to lead NASA.
"There are some fantastic women candidates out there that I think should be highly considered," potentially Ellen Stofan and Pam Melroy, Eric Stallmer of Voyager Space Holdings told Politico.
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