Trump’s Pick For NASA’s New Administrator Used to Own a Rocket Racing Team


Image: Edibobb/Wikimedia Commons
It was meant to be NASCAR for rockets, but it never took off. Gotta go fast.

By Samantha Cole | MOTHERBOARD

Trump tapped Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma to fill the role of NASA administrator. Unlike NASA administrators of the past, Bridenstine—a climate change denier, former fighter pilot, and moon lover—doesn’t have any science education or background. But boy, does he love planes.

He owned a team in the short-lived Rocket League Racing (not to be confused with Motherboard’s best game of 2015Rocket League), the brainchild of a bunch of rich guys who just wanted to see some stuff go real fast. „Rocket“ might be a slight misnomer in this case: They were rocket-powered planes, with a thruster modified to the back burning liquid oxygen and ethanol. A combination of Top Gun and Days of Thunder, RRL organizers dreamed of being the NASCAR of the skies.

It was meant to be a „21st Century, action-packed, and extremely unique entertainment sports league that combines the exhilaration of motorsport racing with the thunder of rocket power,“ according to the Rocket Racing Association website, the parent owner of the RRL. It was founded in 2005 by X Prize founder Peter Diamandis and entrepreneur Granger Whitelaw, and gained the support of entrepreneurs like Bill Koch and Robert Weiss. Diamandis likened it to Star Wars pod racing from Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which probably would have been accurate, if a race ever actually happened.

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