NASA has ALWAYS been about the pork and the distribution of federal funds.
Check out the history of the early years (e.g., https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/sql01). For example, why would you build a space center in Texas? Because the VP and a high-ranking member of Congress's budget committee were from Texas, of course.
"On September 19, 1961, Administrator James E. Webb of NASA formally announced that the new Manned Spacecraft Center would be built in southeastern Harris County, Texas, about twenty-five miles from downtown Houston, at the edge of Clear Lake, an inlet of Galveston Bay. Rice University was to transfer a 1,000-acre tract to the federal government for the construction of the center. Civic leaders and congressmen from other states doubted that Houston and environs met all of NASA's official criteria, at least any more than their towns did. They inquired about the roles of Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, chairman of the high-level National Aeronautics and Space Council, and Representative Albert Thomas, also a Democrat and Texan and chairman of the Independent Offices Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, in the choice of the Harris County site."