On a lighter note: NASA may soon be rudderless so just get the bongos out

by | Mar 19, 2018 | NASA, On a Lighter Note

With the retirement in April of Robert Lightfoot, who has been standing in as NASA’s acting Admininistrator pending the US.Senate’s confirmation of Congressman Jim Bridenstine in the role, the space administration could essentially be “rudderless” for several months. This is because Bridenstine, who is US President Donald Trump’s controversial nomination, is still not certain to be appointed due to his apparent anti-global warming beliefs. And even if he is, he should not unpack his bags as, under current Trump Administration career expectancy, he may not last very long. Trump has just fired his own political appointee Jeff Waksman who was part of the “beachhead” advisory team at NASA.  Waksman is probably hacked off at being whacked off his job in this way but he is not alone.

U.S. President Donald Trump. Courtesy: Wikipedia

For it is not just his controversial hirings that have made President Trump famous. Having previously been the lead in the US TV version of the game-show The Apprentice, whose very role was to fire people, Donald Trump appears to have let this concept go to his head. At just over one year into his first term, he has fired many from Federal appointments in his administration and from his personal staff.

Trump’s other sackings so far in March also include the controversial firing of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe just hours before he was due to retire, thus threatening his pension rights. In between that and accepting the resignation of his own lawyer John Dowd, he has also fired Lt.General H.R.McMaster as his national security adviser (Trump will soon be on his third National Security Adviser – John Bolton). He started this month’s severance proceedings by firing his US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (to be replaced by Mike Pompeo).

The generally well regarded Rex Tillerson (if not by Donald Trump himself) was reportedly “given the bullet” via a phone call as he sat suffering on the toilet having unfortunately acquired a stomach bug on his travels. Thankfully, Tillerson only lost his job there and did not go the same way as Elvis Presley, who famously expired while on the lav.

And at least Tillerson avoided being literally “fired on the toilet” as might have been the case if he had been travelling in Japan a few years ago. This was when a batch of faulty hi-tech Japanese toilets, with their electric warmers and pinpoint aiming jets etc. (don’t ask), were found to have an unfortunate tendency to catch fire, offering the danger of a scorched rear end.

Back to the story. So far President Trump has fired over 20 people from his administration, earning him the reputation of being the political equivalent of the late legendary irascible British rock star, Mark E. Smith.

As this column mentioned in Smith’s obituary in January, the curmudgeonly front man of post-punk rock group The Fall was, like Donald Trump, famously prone to hire and especially fire at will. For the uninitiated, Mark E. Smith once fired a sound man for the “offence” of ordering a salad for himself. He also sacked band mate Mark Riley on Riley’s wedding day. Unsurprisingly the only original member left in the band since its start in 1976 was the difficult-to-get-along-with Smith himself, with some 66 band mates coming and going in the meantime. It soon became a standing joke in that everyone in the British music industry had been in The Fall at some time or other.

Mark E. Smith as front man of The Fall in 2008. Courtesy: Wikipedia

A similar joke exists amongst the US rocket science community about them all working for Elon Musk’s SpaceX at some time or another. While that apocryphal legend suggests that they eventually leave SpaceX voluntarily to avoid “burning out”, there is no chance of burn-out for those in the service of Donald Trump: his employees apparently get fired before they even get a chance to reach lukewarm.

One final word.

Mark E. Smith’s definition of his band The Fall was amusingly put by him as: “If it’s me and your granny on the bongos…then it’s The Fall.”

In the same vein:

If it is Donald Trump and your granny on the bongos…then, apparently, it is the Trump Administration.

If it is Elon Musk and your granny on the bongos…then it’s SpaceX.

And if it is your granny on the bongos who is actually in charge…then it just might be NASA.





About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

SpaceX launches 59 satellites on its Transporter-5 flight of Falcon 9

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral, USA at 1835 GMT on 25 May 2022. Read more

A busy May for Musk: mulling over buying Twitter, fighting a sexual impropriety allegation, as SpaceX sells stock for funding

It has been a busy month for SpaceX and Tesla supremo Elon Musk. The world’s richest man grabbed headlines at Read more

SpaceX: Two rockets, two days and 106 new Starlink satellites

It was a busy weekend for SpaceX which launched two Falcon 9 rockets in less than 24 hours between 13 Read more

CACI to launch nav test payloads as part of demo to US military 

US defence contractor CACI International will launch two demonstration payloads on a York Space built satellite as part of an Read more

SpaceX launches Axiom AX-1 first all-commercial crew to ISS which returns to Earth late (Updated)

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 with the first privately crewed mission to the ISS from the Kennedy Space Centre, USA, Read more

Astranis buys a single dedicated Falcon 9 launch for four of its satellites

Techcrunch.com reports that spacecraft manufacturer and operator Astranis has agreed to purchase a single Falcon 9 launch to carry four Read more

NASA orders more ISS cargo flights from Northrop Grumman and SpaceX

NASA has upped the number of cargo missions as part of its CRS-2 contract originally signed in 2016, from 20 Read more

NASA outlines Artemis lunar landing plan with a second lander type for later missions (Updated)

NASA has outlined the Project Artemis plan to land humans back on the Moon. Having already selected SpaceX to supply Read more