The Huntsville Times sat down with former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden recently Obama’s former chief of the Space Agency had some blunt, albeit eyebrow raising, things to say about how President Trump is approaching space policy.

Trump is not providing enough funding for NASA

Bolden complained that, at least so far, the Trump administration has not matched its rhetoric about NASA and space exploration with funding. The criticism is valid, though Congress appears willing to be more generous with money. In any case, he did not explain why the president he served was not especially forthcoming with funding for the agency he once led to such an extent that NASA recently admitted that it lacks the money to send humans to Mars.

Bolden was not asked about this aspect of the major program that he had been in charge of. Unlike his first deputy administrator, Lori Garver, Bolden maintained his support of the space launch system. He remains a skeptic of the commercial sector in regards to deep space exploration.

Put a crew on the first launch of the Orion on a Space Launch System

One way Bolden thinks that Trump could have demonstrated his commitment to space exploration would have been to follow through with its proposal to put a crew on the first flight of the Orion on a Space Launch System heavy lift rocket. The White House floated the proposal, but it was shot down by a NASA study that suggested that the costs were not worth the benefit.

Bolden thinks that Trump should have ordered the thing done anyway and then found the money. One could imagine the media reaction to such a move, however.

Bring in China as a partner to go back to the moon

The former NASA chief also suggested that China would make a good partner for a return to the moon, as that country has its own lunar effort.

The proposal would be controversial due to China’s human rights regime and its imperialist drive in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. In any case, the administration seems to be leaning toward forging partnerships with the commercial space sector. Such a policy is more in keeping with the business-oriented current administration.

Keep Lightfoot as NASA administrator

Bolden finally has the interesting idea of keeping the acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot as the permanent head of the space agency. The Trump administration is still vetting candidates, with Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, being the front runner. One suspects that the president will want his own person in the job rather than a holdover from the Obama years.