CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - It's official: On Friday President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Bill Nelson to serve as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator.
Jim Bridenstine announced after the 2020 election that he will not stay in his role as head of the space agency under the Biden Administration.
He told Aviation Daily that his decision was driven by a desire to support the "best interest" of NASA and the country’s space exploration goals as a whole, rather than any partisan leanings.
"For that, what you need is somebody who has a close relationship with the president of the United States. You need somebody who is trusted by the administration…. including the OMB [Office of Management and Budget], the National Space Council and the National Security Council, and I think that I would not be the right person for that in a new administration," Bridenstine said in an interview with the outlet.
Read the White House statement on Nelson's nomination below:
"Senator Bill Nelson, former U. S. Senator, is a fifth generation Floridian whose family came to Florida in 1829. He has served in public office over four decades, first in the state legislature and U. S. Congress, then as State Treasurer. He was elected three times to the United States Senate, representing the third largest state for 18 years. His committees included the breadth of government policy from defense, intelligence and foreign policy to finance, commerce and health care."
"Nelson chaired the Space Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives for 6 years and in the Senate was the Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Space and Science Subcommittee and Ranking Member of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Most every piece of space and science law has had his imprint, including passing the landmark NASA bill of 2010 along with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.
That law set NASA on its present dual course of both government and commercial missions. In 1986 he flew on the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. The mission on Columbia, orbited the earth 98 times during six days. Nelson conducted 12 medical experiments including the first American stress test in space and a cancer research experiment sponsored by university researchers. In the Senate he was known as the go-to senator for our nation’s space program. He now serves on the NASA Advisory Council."