Advertisement

Reports: Biden to tap Bill Nelson as NASA administrator

1/2
Reports: Biden to tap Bill Nelson as NASA administrator
Former Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., walks through the halls of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on March 28, 2017. He served three terms as a senator before being voted out of office in 2018. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 18 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden is expected to nominate former Sen. Bill Nelson, who once spent several days in space, to lead NASA, people familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday.

Multiple unnamed sources told The Washington Post, Politico and The Verge that Biden will likely make the announcement by Friday.

Advertisement

They added that the White House also was considering former NASA astronaut and retired Air Force Col. Pamela Melroy to serve as deputy administrator.

If confirmed, Nelson, 78, would replace acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk, who took on the role upon Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

RELATED NASA says dust storm that reached South Korea came from China

Nelson served three terms in the Senate as a Democrat representing Florida. He lost his race for a fourth term to Rick Scott, a Republican, in 2018. Former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine -- a pick of former President Donald Trump -- appointed Nelson to NASA's Advisory Council in 2019.

Nelson was the second sitting member of Congress to go into space, traveling on the space shuttle Columbia to orbit the earth for six days in 1986. The then-representative served as a payload specialist on the flight.

Advertisement

"I wish I could learn everything about the space transportation system and about NASA," he told UPI at the time. "I came into this with seven years experience on the space subcommittee so I didn't start on ground zero.

RELATED Watch live: NASA plans to test-fire SLS moon rocket

"But I never had an opportunity to have two months of intense preparation getting to know about the system as well as getting to know the professionals who run the system, both in space and on the ground."

He later wrote a book about his experience titled Mission: An American Congressman's Voyage to Space.

Meet President Joe Biden's top adviser picks

Housing and Urban Development Secretary. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (L) looks on as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Fudge, the first Black woman to lead the department in decades, speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

RELATED 2.9-ton battery pallet becomes largest object discharged from space station

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement