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There’s No One Steering the Ship at NASA

Drifting for a year without an administrator, the agency’s acting chief quits as manned missions are poised to resume.
The International Space Station
Source: Handout/Getty Images Europe
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NASA’s acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot Jr., plans to retire at the end of April after a 30-year career with the agency. His departure makes a bad situation worse for the organization that put the first humans on the moon.

In its second year without a permanent leader, NASA has been trying to pivot back toward human spaceflight for the first time since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011. Simultaneously, it faces critical decisions about how to end America’s role in the International Space Station. Now the career agency hand who had been steering the ship is leaving, too.