President Biden has nominated former Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) to serve as Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a position that requires Senate confirmation.
Nelson was elected three times to the U.S. Senate, where he served as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Chair of the Senate Space and Science Subcommittee. Before that he served as Chair of the House Science Subcommittee on Space for six years. As a sitting member of the House in 1986, he flew as a civilian payload specialist on a space shuttle. He was also appointed to the NASA Advisory Council by former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in May 2019.
NASA oversees human and robotic space exploration and funds research in astrophysics, Earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, and biological and physical science. Nelson has sponsored and cosponsored space legislation for decades and has defended NASA’s human-spaceflight programs. He is also a prominent supporter of the agency’s climate science work.
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said Nelson is “one of NASA’s strongest and most passionate advocates.” Cantwell added that he has “the expertise and the political acumen to maintain and build upon the nation’s leadership in space in both the public and commercial sectors.” Nelson is expected to be confirmed with bipartisan support.
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