Sen. Bill Nelson took office as the 14th administrator of NASA on May 3, 2021, after he was given the oath of office by Vice President Kamala Harris during a ceremony at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.
As part of the swearing-in ceremony, Vice President Harris and Nelson were joined via video conference by Jim Bridenstine, who preceded Nelson as administrator, and in-person by Charles F. Bolden, who served as administrator from 2009 to 2017. Nelson’s family and Pam Melroy, nominee for NASA deputy administrator, were guests at the ceremony.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Nelson to serve as the NASA administrator April 29.
Nelson has an extensive history of working with NASA and has been integral to the agency’s current successes. Prior to his nomination, was a member-at-large on NASA’s advisory council. From 2001 to 2019, Nelson represented Florida in the U.S. Senate, where he served as ranking member of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and led its Subcommittee on Science and Space.
Previously, Nelson represented Florida’s 9th and 11th districts in the U.S. House of Representatives. While chair of the House space subcommittee, Nelson flew aboard the space shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist on the STS-61C mission in 1986. The mission also included Bolden, as pilot.