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Senate confirms former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson to lead NASA

Former U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, appears before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, Russell Senate Office Building in Washington. Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed Bill Nelson, a former Florida senator who once flew on the space shuttle, to be the next NASA administrator.

Lawmakers agreed to President Joe Biden’s choice to lead the space agency by consensus late Thursday, without a roll call vote.

Nelson says he is “honored,” adding, “Onward and upward!” He will become NASA’s 14th administrator, succeeding another former member of Congress, Jim Bridenstine, a Republican from Oklahoma. Nelson currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council.

“I’m happy to welcome Bill to the NASA family,” says acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk. “It’s been an amazing year for NASA and our commercial and international partners, and I look forward to working with Bill and the Biden-Harris Administration to build on the incredible momentum we’ve built so far.”

Nelson promised, when nominated, to “help lead NASA into an exciting future of possibilities.”

The space agency is working to send astronauts back to the moon this decade.


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