Oklahoma's Bridenstine nominated to be next head of NASA

Oklahoma's Bridenstine nominated to be next head of NASA”

Currently, NASA is led by its acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, who has been in that position for more than seven months, the longest time the space agency has been led by an acting chief in its history.

President Trump announced he would be nominating an Oklahoma congressman as the next administrator of NASA in a decision that was criticized by both the Republican and Democratic senators from Florida.

"The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician", Nelson said in a brief written statement to POLITICO. Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson wouldn't say whether they'd buck the president and vote against Bridenstine, who was nominated on Friday.

Bridenstine, a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee of the House of Representatives, has always been rumored to be Trump's choice to run NASA - and the pick is already attracting criticism from some quarters.

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

Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told Politico, "I just think it could be devastating for the space program".

NASA is now developing a heavy launcher and capsule capable of taking astronauts to Mars in 2030 and beyond.

As Trump's nomination noted, after serving in the Navy, Bridenstine was the executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium, so he's pretty caught up with his space studies and lunar terminology.

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