US President Joe Biden has chosen former Democrat Bill Nelson, who flew on the space shuttle Columbia, to become NASA's next administrator, the White House said in a statement on Friday.
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The choice of Joe Biden seems to confirm his ambition to keep the United States at the forefront of the space race, and if his appointment is confirmed by the Senate, Bill Nelson will have to maneuver NASA in the face of several major challenges.
The space agency is preparing in particular to return to the Moon with its Artemis program, and more distantly to Mars, but is also turning to commercial partnerships for its low orbit missions.
Joe Biden has also said in the past that climate change research will be a top priority for NASA.
Elected from Florida to the House of Representatives between 1979 and 1991, then to the Senate between 2001 and 2019, Bill Nelson chaired or was a member of parliamentary sub-committees on space for many years.
Most science and space laws have been stamped,
” the presidential statement said, “
including the iconic NASA law of 2010,
” which put the US space agency on “
his current dual career of government and trade missions
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In 1986, Bill Nelson had flown aboard the space shuttle Columbia for a six-day mission in space, where he had carried out a dozen scientific experiments.
Senator Nelson has been in space and knows all about space politics, and I look forward to working with him to support this promising moment of progress for NASA,
" said in a statement on current chairman of the House subcommittee on space, Democrat Don Beyer.
Former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, appointed by Donald Trump, called Bill Nelson “an
” to head the space agency and called on the Senate to confirm his appointment “
Aged like Joe Biden of 78, Bill Nelson is currently a member of the NASA advisory board.