The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on Thursday to confirm former astronaut and senator Bill Nelson as the 14th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He takes over from acting NASA administrator Steve Jurczyk. Nelson, who went to space in 1986 as payload specialist on space shuttle Columbia, represented Florida in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2019.
“I’m happy to welcome Bill to the NASA family,” said Jurczyk. “It’s been an amazing year for NASA and our commercial and international partners, and I look forward to working with Bill and the Biden-Harris Administration to build on the incredible momentum we’ve built so far.”
Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University in 1965 and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1968. He joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 1965 and served on active duty from 1968 to 1970. During his time in the Senate, Nelson was a member of the Commerce, Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations, Intelligence, and Aging committees.