NASA's Goldin likely gone

NASA's Goldin Age may be coming to a close.

With the Bush transition team in full swing, it appears just a matter of time before it names a successor to Dan Goldin, who has been the NASA administrator since 1992.

According Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer, "any post that expires and needs to be filled" is being studied by Bush's people.

At NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., agency spokesman Brian Dunbar said any announcement dealing with a successor to Goldin would come from the Bush transition team.

Goldin is widely credited with reining in spending at an agency with expensive projects that has seen less return on investment than many expected. He adopted the "faster, better, cheaper" approach to missions that saw a great deal of success but also some conspicuous failures—most notably, perhaps, the 1999 loss of two Mars exploration spacecraft.

He called the losses "acceptable," but said he was at fault for not setting parameters for faster, better, cheaper and not explaining "failure."

Criticism over the losses notwithstanding, Goldin's efforts at NASA have strong support.

"I think Dan Goldin will be remembered as one of the greatest public managers of the 20th century," said Steve Kelman, a Harvard professor of public management and the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy from 1993 to 1997. "I think he did a fantastic job at NASA, and I very strongly hope that his successor will not be misled by some of the problems of some of the recent launches to abandon Goldin's better, faster, cheaper philosophy, which I think was a great success."

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