WASHINGTON — Former senator Invoice Nelson formally turned NASA’s 14th administrator in a brief ceremony Might 3.
Vice President Kamala Harris gave the oath of workplace to Nelson on the Eisenhower Government Workplace Constructing in Washington. Solely a handful of company and a media pool had been in attendance, and the swearing-in ceremony was not broadcast dwell on NASA TV.
In short remarks, Nelson thanked Harris and President Joe Biden, additionally former senators, for demonstrating “this type of confidence in an outdated buddy from the Senate” by nominating him for the place. “It’s certainly one of many excessive honors that anybody may have.”
Nelson didn’t talk about his plans for NASA both in these remarks or an company assertion later that day. “I wish to thank Steve Jurczyk for his management as appearing administrator over the previous few months, serving to to hold out the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities and make sure the success of NASA’s objectives and missions,” he mentioned in that assertion. “You’ve seen the unimaginable accomplishments at NASA over the previous 100 or so days — the proof is within the pudding.”
NASA highlighted these accomplishments in a news release April 29, moments earlier than the Senate confirmed Nelson’s nomination by unanimous consent. These milestones embrace some new initiatives by the Biden administration, corresponding to appointing a senior local weather adviser in addition to establishing an inside engaged on orbital particles, which the company had not beforehand publicized. Nevertheless, different milestones, just like the touchdown of the Perseverance Mars rover, a business crew handover on the Worldwide House Station and the Inexperienced Run take a look at of the House Launch System core stage, contain packages that in some circumstances date again a number of administrations.
Nelson’s company included his spouse and two kids in addition to Charles Bolden, the previous NASA administrator who was nominated in 2009 on the behest of Nelson, who lobbied the Obama administration to pick out him.
Pam Melroy, the previous astronaut who was nominated April 16 to be deputy administrator, was additionally there. Nelson mentioned he expects Melroy “certainly to be confirmed” as his deputy. The Senate Commerce Committee has not scheduled a affirmation listening to for Melroy, however her nomination, like Nelson’s, has widespread assist.
The occasion stood in stark distinction to the swearing-in of Nelson’s predecessor, Jim Bridenstine, in April 2018. That pre-pandemic occasion befell in a crowded auditorium at NASA Headquarters, with then-Vice President Mike Pence swearing in Bridenstine. It was adopted instantly thereafter by a gathering with company leaders and Pence.
Bridenstine, who endorsed Nelson’s nomination in March, attended the occasion nearly, his face on the display of a laptop computer held by Bolden. His attendance, Nelson mentioned, reveals “the continuity and the bipartisanship with which you run the nation’s area program, significantly NASA.”