On Monday, rumors that had been circulating in Washington for several weeks surfaced that former Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is the main contender to become the next NASA director.
The publication “Break the Defense” publicly shared the rumor on Twitter and pointed out that Nelson has a “strong” relationship with President Biden and understands how Congress works. Nelson is 78 years old this year, and he failed in his 2018 re-election campaign. He has served in the House of Representatives for six terms and in the House of Lords for three terms.
Two sources told Ars that Nelson is trying to become an administrator and is using his friendly relationship with Biden to do so. A source said: “This is not just a rumor.” However, this is not an easy task, because after the rumors spread, the space industry responded to Nelson’s appointment, and Nelson has a long history in the space industry. , Sometimes even controversial.
New Horizons astrophysicist Simon Porter once bluntly spoke on Twitter. Perhaps he best summed up this concern, writing: “This is actually “putting oil executives in charge of EPA’s bad things.” “. It must be promoted by the lobbyists of the SLS contractor. If Biden even considers it, he is hearing about customers, not professionals.”
Nelson will certainly bring a wealth of experience and familiarity to the NASA administrator role.In addition to representing the Kennedy Space Center in Congress for decades, he is also a payload expert on the space shuttle Colombia January 1986.
However, in many aerospace industries, Nelson’s mission is to develop and grow an influential politician for his own self, and he has armed his own way on the space shuttle.In his book Rocket riding, Former NASA astronaut Mike Mulane (Mike Mullane) vividly recounted Nelson’s antics. Mullan said that Nelson did everything possible to get favorable publicity.
“He wants to be a contributing crew member and do some really important things,” Mulanen wrote. “There is only one problem. None of the main researchers of any experiment demonstrated during the mission wanted Nielsen to be anywhere near the equipment. They had a chance for a flight experiment, and they had been conducting research with the astronauts for several months. , In order to find the best way. Operate the equipment and don’t want non-technical politicians to intervene at the last minute and mess things up.”
In the end, Nelson finally won the crew’s ridicule for his role in the space shuttle mission.Ballast.
Space Launch System
Recently, Nelson played a key role in NASA’s development of the expensive “Space Launch System” rocket. At the beginning of the presidency, Barack Obama tried to cancel NASA’s efforts to build a large rocket, the Ares V, and to study whether the private sector could make launch vehicles more efficiently. As companies like SpaceX begin to show hope, this will free up NASA’s budget for technology development and other purposes.
Nelson and the main Republicans opposed the plan and voted against it. As a result, NASA was instructed to make another large rocket, the Space Launch System, to replace AresV. (Over ten years, at a cost of 20 billion U.S. dollars, the SLS rocket has not yet been launched). Nelson also took the lead in reducing the funding for business personnel. This is an initiative initiated by NASA, requiring companies such as SpaceX and Boeing to transport astronauts to the International Space Station after the space shuttle is retired.
Nelson worked with Senator Richard Shelby, the Republican of Alabama, and found that from 2011 to 2014, the commercial crew program received less than half the funding for the commercial crew sought by the White House. Instead, Congress invested the money in the SLS Rockets.
At the same time, behind the scenes, Nelson continued to criticize NASA for its support of commercial companies, especially SpaceX. After SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced the development of the Falcon Heavy rocket (SLS’s low-cost competitor), Nelson withheld the support of NASA officials. According to two sources, he told them to keep “your boy” consistent.
Not a politician
In 2017, Nelson also led the opposition to oppose Jim Bridenstine to become NASA Administrator Nelson (Nelson) later served as an important member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which is responsible for overseeing the United States. Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He also accused Bridenstine of lack of expertise.
Speaking of Bradenstein, who was a two-term Congressman in Oklahoma, Nelson said: “The Director of NASA should be a space professional, not a politician.”
Bradenstein will continue to serve as the space agency’s respected chief executive. He has shown little sign of bipartisan cooperation when he promotes the space agency’s efforts in human exploration and scientific research.
Now, among scientists, people worry that Nelson will not be as enthusiastic about promoting the overall development of the institution or conducting scientific exploration as Bryant did. This is because, as a member of Congress from Florida, Nelson usually only seeks funding for the Kennedy Space Center and programs such as the SLS rocket, which use space shuttle-era technology and provide support for local work.
When asked about his thoughts on Nelson as a potential manager of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Lori Garver, who served as deputy director of the space agency during the Obama administration, was not satisfied with this . She said: “It’s not time to go back to NASA’s time.”