Bill Nelson Receives Senate Confirmation to Lead NASA
Bill Nelson, a three-term Democratic senator from Florida, has been formally appointed as NASA administrator following a unanimous consent agreement from the Senate. His confirmation came less than six weeks after his nomination was announced by the White House.
Nelson will take over from Steve Jurczyk, who served as acting administrator for a little over three months.
NASA is expected to schedule a swearing in ceremony for Nelson by early next week, SpaceNews reported Thursday.
Nelson’s confirmation has been positively received by space industry groups.
In a statement, Eric Fanning, president and chief executive of the Aerospace Industries Association, said Nelson’s prior experience as a U.S. senator and NASA astronaut makes him an ideal choice to lead the space agency.
Fanning said he looks forward to working with Nelson to further NASA’s mission of developing enhanced aeronautics technologies and fulfilling space exploration missions.
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation noted that the Senate’s bipartisan support for Nelson highlights his leadership, deep expertise and commitment to America’s space program.
During his term as senator, Nelson supported abortion rights and gun control. He also advocated for raising the federal minimum wage and tackled climate change challenges.
Before entering politics, he took part in NASA’s STS-61C space shuttle mission as a payload specialist. Together with his crew members, Nelson launched a communications satellite and performed several experiments in materials processing and astrophysics.
NASA is awaiting confirmation hearings for two more leadership positions. Confirmation is pending for Pam Melroy and Margaret Vo Schaus, who have been nominated to serve as deputy administrator and chief financial officer, respectively.
Tags: Administrator Aerospace Industries Association Bill Nelson Commercial Spaceflight Federation Eric Fanning NASA Senate confirmation space SpaceNews Steve Jurczyk