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Trump to nominate GOP Rep. Bridenstine as NASA chief

06 September 2017

Charles Bolden, the previous NASA administrator, stepped down on January 20, the first day of Trump's presidency.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) issued a similar statement, saying, "The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician". The congressman is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and a former head of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Oklahoma's Tulsa World reports.

Bridenstine has gotten support as well from some in the GOP.

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The Oklahoma Republican criticized Rubio during the 2016 GOP presidential primary, including in advertising for one of Rubio's rivals, Texas Sen.

"I would hate to see an administrator held up - on [grounds of] partisanship, political arguments, past votes, or statements made in the past - because the agency can't afford it and it can't afford the controversy", he told Politico.

But not everyone is convinced Bridenstine's experience in space legislation and politics makes him ready to lead NASA. "I am confident that as the next NASA administrator, Jim will work hard to advance our national space policy goals, expand human space exploration and secure America's leadership in space". And he's critical of how much NASA spends on climate change research.

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According to the trade publication SpaceNews, Bridenstine has been a big proponent of giving the private sector a larger role in space.

A Senator from the Republican party, Marco Rubio believes that the choice of j.Bridenstine "can be devastating to the space program".

Bridenstine has been a vocal proponent of the privatization of space, to the point where he introduced a bill (the American Space Renaissance Act) that would have created "minimal" and "certain" regulations to foster private participation in U.S. space initiatives.

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Bridenstine's official nomination is rumored to coincide with the first meeting of the re-established National Space Council. "I look forward to working with my fellow Oklahoman in this new capacity".

Trump to nominate GOP Rep. Bridenstine as NASA chief