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Removing Gerstenmaier Probably Doesn’t Solve NASA’s Bigger Problems

12 Jul 2019, 20:18 UTC
Removing Gerstenmaier Probably Doesn’t Solve NASA’s Bigger Problems
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William Gerstenmaier

Christian Davenport at The Washington Post reports that William Gerstenmaier was removed from his post overseeing NASA’s human spaceflight operation due to White House frustration over delays in the agency’s effort to return astronauts to the moon.

Industry officials said that [Vice President Mike] Pence and others in the White House have become livid about the agency’s lack of progress, particularly regarding the massive rocket known as the Space Launch System, or SLS, that NASA has been developing for more than a decade but has yet to fly. White House officials expressed their dismay to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine at a meeting within the last few weeks, according to a space industry official not authorized to speak publicly about internal deliberations.In an interview Thursday evening, Bridenstine strongly denied that, saying, “If they are frustrated with the agency’s efforts, they haven’t communicated that to me because we’re moving out to get to the moon in 2024.” He added: “I just want to be clear — this was my decision. I didn’t get this from the White House at all.”There had also been tension between Bridenstine and Gerstenmaier, officials said. Bridenstine repeatedly had said, for example, that he would ...

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