NASA will apparently be getting a new leader after president-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine won’t remain in the agency’s lead role in the Biden administration even if asked, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report reported on Sunday (Nov. 8).
“You need somebody who has a close relationship with the president of the U.S. … somebody trusted by the administration …. including OMB [Office of Management and Budget], National Space Council, National Security Council,” Bridenstine told Irene Klotz, space editor for Aviation Week, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report’s parent publication. “I think I would not be the right person for that in a new administration.”
Klotz’s story is behind a paywall, but she posted on Twitter a series of quotes that aired Bridenstine’s reasoning — including the quote above, which you can find here— and his thoughts about NASA’s future. For example, Bridenstine seems optimistic about NASA and American space exploration more broadly going forward.
“There is a political agreement that America needs to do big things in space exploration, that we need to lead the world … There have been lessons learned from the past, and I think Congress is in a good position to make sure that we have sustainable programs going forward,” he said in one of the tweeted snippets. And in another one, he stressed that “there are a lot of people that can do great work as the NASA administrator.”
It’s far too early to speculate about Bridenstine’s successor; the results of the Nov. 3 election still need to be certified, after all, and space policy is likely to be low on the list of President-elect Biden’s priorities as he gets his administration up and running. (President Trump has yet to concede and is contesting the results, but his lawsuits and any recounts that are held are unlikely to change the outcome, experts say.)