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Senator Bill Nelson sworn in as 14th NASA Administrator

After a quick confirmation process, the former senator from Florida and Space Shuttle astronaut, Bill Nelson, is sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris to be the next administrator of NASA.

Bill Nelson has had a long history in America’s Space Program chairing the house subcommittee on Science and Space and was the ranking member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. After he left politics he was a member of NASA’s Advisory Council.

Nelson didn’t just form policy for NASA, he also received first-hand experience in what it does. Nelson was gifted a seat on Columbia by NASA as a payload specialist on STS-61C in 1986. While in space he conducted medical experiments including a stress test and cancer research. On that mission, he shared the flight with former NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden who was the pilot of the flight and also joined Nelson Monday during his swearing-in ceremony.

“It’s an honor to be sworn in by Vice President Harris to serve as NASA administrator, and I look forward to a continued, strong relationship with her as chair of the National Space Council,. I want to thank Steve Jurczyk for his leadership as Acting Administrator over the past few months, helping to carry out the Biden-Harris Administration’s priorities and ensure the success of NASA’s goals and missions. You’ve seen the incredible accomplishments at NASA over the past 100 or so days – the proof is in the pudding.”

Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator
From left to right, Pam Melroy, current nominee for NASA Deputy Administrator, former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Bill Nelson Jr., son of Bill Nelson, Nan Ellen Nelson, daughter of Nelson, former Senator Bill Nelson, his wife, Grace Nelson, and Vice President Kamala Harris pose for a photo after Nelson was ceremonially sworn-in as the 14th NASA Administrator, Monday, May 3, 2021. A moon rock collected by astronaut John Young during the Apollo 16 mission was also on display. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Nelson will now hold the responsibility of executing President Biden’s goals for this nation’s space agency. This includes building the nation’s STEM workforce, increase in climate change research, and sending the first woman and person of color to the Moon in part of NASA’s Artemis Program.

Nelson takes over from Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk who has served that position since President Biden took office back on January 20th. Currently, the Deputy Administrator is still open and is waiting to be filled by Pam Melroy, as she goes through her confirmation process.

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