Keith Cowing, the purveyor of NASA Watch, has offered a cryptic tweet about the next #Nasa Administrator. “#Mike Pence had his meeting about space last week. Apparently, they now have a name for their #NASA Administrator nominee. Tick tock.” No word as to who is attached to their name, when the announcement is going to take place, and what else may have been decided during the meeting.

Mike Pence as arbiter of space policy

Vice President Pence has shown himself to be not only interested in space policy but positively enthusiastic about it. When the new NASA astronaut class of 2017 was announced, Pence traveled to the Johnson Spaceflight Center south of Houston to officiate, an almost unprecedented move.

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He hinted, in his speech, that the some of the newly minted astronauts would be going someplace besides the International Space Station, where he declined to be specific about. As chairman of the #White House Space Council, Pence will have lots of influence about where the next footsteps will take place.

When and how is the announcement to take place?

If Cowing is correct, we can expect an announcement sometime soon. The ceremony would be conducted by President Donald Trump, who is empowered by the Constitution to make such appointments. The announcement could take place at the White House or NASA Headquarters.

Of course, showman that the President is, he could do the thing elsewhere and turn it into an event. Houston or the Kennedy Space Center would be prime venues for a space policy speech that includes the announcement of the next NASA Administrator.

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Doing the thing before an enthusiastic crowd could appeal to the President’s love of the dramatic.

One idea would be to see when Rice Stadium is available and make the announcement there. President John F. Kennedy chose the venue to make his famous “we choose to go to the moon” speech on September 12, 1962, to a crowd of 35,000 people. The speech was front-page news across the country and framed the rationale for the Apollo race to the moon neatly in the best words that Ted Sorenson ever wrote for JFK.

If Trump is interested in making a splash, and diverting the media at least for a while from scandal and fake news, he could make a “we choose to return to the moon” speech that also announces his appointment of a new NASA administrator and the formation of a new White House Space Council. If those next footsteps happen soon, say in the second term, Trump will have cemented his place in history that will be remembered long after current political controversies fade into history.