Biden to appoint first female NASA administrator if elected, boost focus on climate change research

Politico has published a new piece on what to expect for NASA from a Biden administration. The former vice president is expected to maintain a number of Trump directives including Space Force and the Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon. The administration change would likely mean a NASA administrator change as well, however, with Biden said to be planning to appoint the first female NASA administrator.

One potential candidate mentioned by multiple space industry insiders is Pam Melroy, a retired Air Force test pilot and astronaut who serves on the National Space Council’s User Advisory Group.

Others in consideration include Wanda Sigur, a former Lockheed Martin executive who worked on the Orion deep space capsule; Wanda Austin, a former CEO of the Aerospace Corporation; Gretchen McClain, who serves on the board of Booz Allen Hamilton; and Waleed Abdalati, a former chief scientist at NASA, according to the industry official.

Trump-appointed NASA administrator and former Republican congressman Jim Bridenstine is widely viewed as popular in the space community. His experience in Congress has benefited NASA, an agency that relies on convincing Congress to fund programs like Artemis, and keeping the current administrator on for a time could be viewed as a bipartisan gesture considering his previous party affiliation.

But a Biden administration is also expected to boost NASA’s Earth science research division to further our understanding of climate change. If elected, the new president may want an administrator with more enthusiasm for spearheading climate-related programs at the space agency.

Read the full piece on Politico.

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