Likewise, NASA's over-budget James Webb Space Telescope, a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, wouldn't get a pass under a Gingrich presidency.
"I think you've got to look at some of these science projects," he told Discovery News. "The fact that the Webb telescope has gone from $1.5 billion to $9 billion -- and I'm told that people don't believe that at $9 billion it's going to be on budget -- at some point you have to stop and say, 'There's something systemically wrong when you get into this scale of an overrun. I think that deserves serious review.'"
With the space shuttle fleet retired, Gingrich said the agency needs to shrink as well.
"If they have as many bureaucrats now when they're not launching as they had when they were launching you really have to ask what is it they do? I think this is a very serious problem. You have a huge Washington bureaucracy that thinks. Actually we need a lot more doing," Gingrich told Discovery News.
More than anything, what is most important for space policy is "consistent, steady, aggressive leadership," said former astronaut Mike McCulley, who recently retired as the president of United Space Alliance, NASA's prime contractor for space shuttle operations.