Bill Nelson confirmed as NASA administrator
On Thursday, April 29, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Bill Nelson by unanimous consent to be the next NASA administrator.
Nelson was formally nominated by President Joe Biden on March 19, 2021, to replace the previous administrator, Jim Bridenstine, who served under the Trump administration until Jan. 20, 2021.
“I am honored by the president’s nomination and the Senate vote,” Nelson said in a NASA news release. “I will try to merit that trust. Onward and upward!”
A native of Florida, Nelson entered the role of NASA administrator as a career politician, having served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1972 to 1978, the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 2001 and the United States Senate from 2001 to 2019.
On January 12, 1986, Nelson became the second active member of Congress to fly into space, serving as mission specialist aboard space shuttle Columbia during the STS-61-C mission.
Still awaiting confirmation
On April 16, 2021, the Biden administration nominated former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy to be NASA’s deputy administrator. However, as of Nelson’s confirmation, the U.S. Senate has yet to schedule a confirmation hearing for Melroy.
No stranger to the spaceflight community, Melroy flew to space three times as pilot for space shuttle missions STS-92 and STS-112, as well as commander aboard STS-120.
Before joining the astronaut corps, Melroy served as an officer in the United States Air Force, where she flew KC-10 tanker aircraft. She attended test pilot school in 2001, where she was selected to fly the C-17 until she was selected for the astronaut program in 1994.
Melroy was also member of the Biden administration’s transition team supporting transitional efforts in relation to NASA projects and programs.
Having a life-long interest in crewed space flight, Desforges’ passion materialized on a family vacation in 1999 when he was able see the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-96. Since then, Desforges has been an enthusiast of space exploration efforts. He lived in Orlando, Florida for a year, during which time he had the opportunity to witness the flights of the historic CRS-4 and EFT-1 missions in person at Cape Canaveral. He earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 2017, holds a degree in Aviation Management, and currently works as an Operations Analyst in the aviation industry in Georgia.