U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine

President Trump’s nomination of Congressman James Bridenstine to lead NASA has sparked both praise and criticism from various quarters.

For example, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness said: “I applaud President Trump for nominating Rep. Jim Bridenstine to be the next NASA administrator,” the lawmaker said.

“I am confident that as the next NASA administrator, Jim will work hard to advance our national space policy goals, expand human space exploration and secure America’s leadership in space,” Cruz said.

Then there are comments from Florida’s senators Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson. They have questioned the nomination of Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine, explaining a “politician” shouldn’t lead the nation’s space program.

Space pedigree

“Mr. Bridenstine will advance the commercial space sector, often referred to as “new space,’” views Milton “Skip” Smith, co-chair of Sherman & Howard’s Space Law Practice. He is one of sixteen space industry leaders and lawyers on the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Space Law.

“Although he is sure to draw criticism from both parties due to his lack of a space ‘pedigree,’ he is one of the few people who can step into the NASA Administrator’s position and lead NASA further away from a large government bureaucracy and towards an organization that efficiently and effectively manages major space activities instead of doing them.”

NASA Administrator, James Webb.
Credit: NASA

Qualifications

Bridenstine as the next NASA Administrator “has raised questions about what qualifications are needed to serve in that position,” points out Marcia Smith of SpacePolicyOnline.com. “Eleven men have served as Administrator of NASA since the agency was created in 1958. Some media sources are reporting that all of them had degrees in science or engineering or had served as an astronaut. That is not correct,” she explains.

Choice at hand

Noted Moon exploration expert, Paul Spudis, has also chimed in with thoughts on the job of NASA Administrator.

“To Senators Rubio and Nelson: Do you want a meaningful, productive and successful national space program? If so, you will support the President’s nomination of Jim Bridenstine for NASA Administrator,” Spudis suggests.

“However, if you are content with the debilitating and pointless status quo – the stagnation and withering of NASA – then it is understandable that you might want someone other than Jim Bridenstine at the helm. That is the choice at hand,” Spudis concludes.

NASA logo

 

Wanted: American space renaissance

Bridenstine is a former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium and is author of the American Space Renaissance Act (H.R. 4945).

The mission of H.R. 4945 — The American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA) — is to permanently secure the United States as the preeminent spacefaring nation. The ASRA has three key objectives: Project military strength and protect our space based capabilities; provide certainty to encourage commercial space innovation; and promote stability, accountability, and mission clarity at NASA

Credit: NASA

Moon backer

Late last year, Bridenstine wrote a blog post, “Why the Moon Matters,” explaining that “from the discovery of water ice on the Moon until this day, the American objective should have been a permanent outpost of rovers and machines, with occasional manned missions for science and maintenance, in order to utilize the materials and energy of the Moon to drive down the costs and increase the capabilities of American operations in cis-lunar and interplanetary space.”

To read that post in full Moon status, go to:

https://bridenstine.house.gov/blog/?postid=772

To take a look at H.R.4945 – The American Space Renaissance Act, go to:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4945

Also, go to:

https://bridenstine.house.gov/space/

Reading matters

As the Bridenstine nomination moves forward through Congress, here’s a collection of items worth a read:

  • Will Thomas of FYI from the American Institute of Physics: “NASA Nominee Jim Bridenstine Has Bold Vision for Space, Unclear Intentions for Science” Go to:

https://www.aip.org/fyi/2017/nasa-nominee-jim-bridenstine-has-bold-vision-space-unclear-intentions-science

  • Marcia Smith of SpacePolicyOnline.com has created a new fact sheet summarizing the educational background and professional experience of previous NASA Administrators. Go to:

https://spacepolicyonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/NASA-Administrators.pdf

  • Marc Caputo of Politico: “Rubio, Nelson blast Trump’s NASA pick” Go to:

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/01/marco-rubio-bill-nelson-trump-nasa-jim-bridenstine-242269

  • Paul Spudis essay: Thoughts on the job of NASA Administrator” Go to:

http://www.spudislunarresources.com/blog/thoughts-on-the-job-of-nasa-administrator/

 

 

 

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