NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has expressed interest in selling naming rights for spacecraft to private companies.
“Is it possible for NASA to offset some of its costs by selling the naming rights to its spacecraft, or the naming rights to its rockets?” Bridenstine asked. “I’m telling you there is interest in that right now. The question is: Is it possible? The answer is: I don’t know, but we want somebody to give us advice on whether it is.”
According to the Hill, Bridenstine also expressed interest in having astronauts “appear on cereal boxes” like celebrities and professional sports players to help NASA become “embedded into the American culture.”
“I’d like to see kids growing up, instead of maybe wanting to be like a professional sports star,” he declared. “I’d like to see them grow up wanting to be a NASA astronaut or a NASA scientist.”
Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, however, criticized the idea and claimed it “would be a dramatic shift from the rules prohibiting government officials from using their public office for private gain.”
Last year, Vice President Mike Pence discussed the possibility of private companies assisting NASA with missions.
“American companies are on the cutting edge of space technology, and they’re developing new rockets, spaceships, and satellites that will take us further into space faster than ever before,” Vice President Pence proclaimed. “By fostering much stronger partnerships between the federal government and the realm of industry, and bringing the full force of our national interests to bear, American leadership in space will be assured.”