The White House has announced that Bill Nelson, a former senator and astronaut, is President Biden’s pick to serve as the next NASA administrator. Nelson will take over the role from Steve Jurczyk, who took on the role of acting administrator following Jim Bridenstine’s exit on January 20. Nelson has spent more than four decades in public service.
Late last year, then-administrator Jim Bridenstine revealed that he would step down from his role at NASA if Biden was elected president. Bridenstine indeed stepped down with the change of administration, which is when Steve Jurczyk took over as the agency’s acting administrator to serve until a permanent replacement was found.
In an announcement on Friday, March 19, the White House announced President Biden will nominate Bill Nelson to take over the role of NASA administrator. Nelson has a long history of public service and roles in government, including as a State Treasurer and Senator.
Nelson has played a role in the nation’s space efforts; he was chair of the House of Representatives Space Subcommittee for six years and was likewise a ranking member and Chairman of the Senate Space and Science Subcommittee. As well, Nelson was a ranking member of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Beyond his work in government, Nelson was also part of the 24th Space Shuttle crew in 1986; he conducted science experiments in space and orbited the Earth 98 times during his mission. As part of its statement on the nomination, the White House said:
Most every piece of space and science law has had [Nelson’s] 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.