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Biden chooses former senator who flew in area to steer NASA

CAP CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – President Joe Biden has chosen a former Florida senator who flew on the area shuttle days earlier than the Challenger launch crash to steer NASA.

Biden introduced on Friday his intention to nominate Invoice Nelson as administrator of the area company.

Nelson, 78, grew up close to Cape Canaveral and was a Democratic congressman when he launched aboard House Shuttle Columbia in January 1986. Its commander was Charles Bolden Jr., who later served as a NASA administrator underneath President Barack Obama – on the request of Nelson.

Nelson was elected in 2000 to the Senate, the place he served till his defeat in 2018.

If confirmed by the Senate, Nelson will develop into NASA’s 14th administrator, succeeding one other former congressman Jim Bridenstine, a Republican from Oklahoma.

It is a important time for NASA as momentum accelerates within the business area program.

SpaceX is about to launch its third astronaut flight to the Worldwide House Station for NASA; Boeing is anticipated to hitch the crew supply effort later this 12 months. House station deliveries, in the meantime, have been dealt with by non-public corporations underneath contract to NASA for almost a decade.

On the identical time, NASA is partnering with non-public corporations to launch experiments and tools on the moon, in addition to lunar landers that might ship astronauts to the floor. On Thursday alone, NASA efficiently carried out a check firing of the middle stage of its SLS lunar rocket – the area launch system.

The brand new moonshot program is called Artemis after Apollo’s twin sister and intends to incorporate a lady on her first moon touchdown.

Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, endorsed Nelson for the highest NASA place.

“There was no better champion, not only for Florida’s area trade, however for the area program as a complete than Invoice,” Rubio stated in an announcement. “His appointment offers me confidence that the Biden administration lastly understands the significance of the Artemis program, and the necessity to win the twenty first century area race.”

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The Related Press’s Division of Well being and Science receives help from the Division of Science Schooling on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely answerable for all content material.

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