Congressman Jim Bridenstine Confirmed as NASA Administrator

Earth from space

Law360, Washington (April 19, 2018, 5:46 PM EDT) - President Donald Trump's choice to head NASA has cleared the Senate on a razor-thin margin Thursday after months of delays over concerns about the nominee's lack of scientific credentials. "I look forward to working with the outstanding team at NASA to achieve the President's vision for American leadership in space", Bridenstine said. Republicans praised him as a qualified war hero.

Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and a key vote from Sen.

This week, Rubio changed his position and voted for Bridenstine. "Nothing personal about Mr. Bridenstine". Last month, acting head of NASA Robert Lightfoot, a almost three-decade NASA veteran, announced he would step down at the end of April, putting a deadline on efforts to fill the post. During his tenure, the nonprofit suffered financial losses, and an investigation by the Project On Government Oversight found that Bridenstine used the nonprofit's resources to benefit a company he co-owned, according to a report from The Daily Beast this week. "NASA's science, NASA's mission and American leadership will be in jeopardy under Congressman Bridenstine's leadership".

At his confirmation hearing in November, Bridenstine said NASA was "at a critical time in its history" and that he would build off the hard work of the previous administration.

"The @NASA administrator should be a consummate space professional - not a politician", Nelson tweeted.

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"It is downright unsafe to have someone without this expertise", he warned.

Echoing the mostly partisan divisions triggered by his nomination, Bridenstine was confirmed by a vote of 50 to 49. "We need him in this spot and I think he will do a fine job".

He accumulated 1,900 hours flying time and 333 carrier landings flying E-2C Hawkeye turboprops and, later, F-18 Hornets before leaving active duty to serve as executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. He read aloud a statement by former astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

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"We encourage you to join us in uniting the space community and our nation behind this nominee so NASA can return to its job of boldly exploring the final frontier", Aldrin's statement said. The victor of that election will serve the remaining two months of Bridenstine's term and then serve their own two-year term.

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