Read More: Space.com
NASA has been without a permanent administrator for almost 14 months, which is a record. Earlier this week, NASA's acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, announced that he will retire from NASA on April 30. If no permanent NASA chief is appointed before then, the associate administrator, Steve Jurczyk, will take the reins. (Jurczyk's current position would ordinarily make him third in line, but NASA has no deputy administrator at the moment.) This lengthy vacuum of permanent leadership hasn't hamstrung the space agency, but it does make it harder for NASA to get things done, space policy experts said. "The current situation is clearly unacceptable, because a person who is acting — he or she has less legitimacy, less political influence," John Logsdon, professor emeritus of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, told Space.com. "Congress doesn't have to take them seriously," he added. "You can execute policy if the White House gives direction, but it's hard to take the initiative."