Bill Nelson confirmed as NASA administrator
Former U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) on Thursday was confirmed by the U.S. Senate via unanimous consent to be the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), a longtime champion of NASA through the appropriations process, said, “I look forward to working with my former colleague and now NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson.”
“Administrator Nelson understands the importance of deep space exploration,” Shelby continued. “He has long supported the critical elements of the Artemis program and its unique, evolvable capabilities that are necessary for returning to the moon and beyond. I believe Administrator Nelson comes to NASA at a time when his leadership can produce significant accomplishments through competition, teamwork, and innovation.”
The confirmation came hours after U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) announced he had met with Nelson.
“Given the role that the space industry plays in our state, it was important for me to speak with former Senator Bill Nelson and ensure he knows the contributions the Huntsville area makes to the industry,” said Tuberville in a written statement at the time. “We had a good, productive conversation, and I’m confident he recognizes Alabama’s significant contributions to America’s space programs.”
Alabama’s junior senator advised, “When it comes to space, he said to me, ‘You really have the juice in Huntsville,’ and I couldn’t agree more. Senator Nelson trained in Huntsville and is very up-to-date on the region’s space facilities and growth.”
In 1986, Nelson became the second-ever sitting member of Congress to fly in space when he served as a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia.
Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee with jurisdiction over NASA’s funding, said in a statement to Yellowhammer News, “Senator Bill Nelson has served our nation as an astronaut, and as a U.S. Senator with many years of oversight experience of NASA and related agencies and programs. Assured access to space is a national security issue and I am glad the Senate has acted expeditiously. I look forward to having a hearing to discuss NASA issues with Administrator Nelson when my own CJS Subcommittee Chairman, Matt Cartwright, works out an appropriate date.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn