The end of the era of behemoth projects at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration may be at hand as Congress on March 31 confirmed a non-astronaut as the new administrator of an agency facing congressional funding cutbacks.

Until his appointment, Daniel Goldin was vice president of TRW Inc.'s Space & Technology Group in Redondo Beach, Calif. TRW, a longtime NASA contractor, has been involved not in space shuttle-sized projects but in the smaller science of satellites, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and the grinding of X-ray optics mirrors for astrophysical observations.

Unlike his predecessor, Richard Truly, a former shuttle pilot, Goldin has not flown in space. He began his career as a researcher 30 years ago at NASA's Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, where he worked on propulsion systems for interplanetary travel. According to media reports and sources in the Bush administration and the scientific community, Truly was removed...

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