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Biden to nominate Bill Nelson to head NASA: reports

Biden to nominate Bill Nelson to head NASA: reports
© Stefani Reynolds

President BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE reportedly will nominate former Florida Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonChina fires back after NASA criticism of rocket debris reentry The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns NASA criticizes China after rocket debris lands in Indian Ocean MORE (D) to run NASA, according to multiple media outlets.

The Verge reported Thursday that Nelson had been tapped as the new NASA administrator, citing three unnamed sources close to the decision.

The Washington Post reported that Nelson would be tapped for the NASA position as well, citing "multiple people with knowledge of the matter."

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Nelson, 78, served for three terms as Florida's senator before he was unseated by then-Gov. Rick Scott (R) in 2018. In 1986, he became the second member of Congress to embark on space travel as a "payload specialist" on the Space Shuttle Columbia.

In 2019, Nelson was recognized by NASA as "the leading space program advocate in Congress" and was instrumental in passing a bill that called for the development of commercial spaceflights in 2010.

However, despite the reports, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE offered no comment when asked about the nomination Thursday.

Biden's nominee will replace Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineBill Nelson is a born-again supporter of commercial space at NASA Has the Biden administration abandoned the idea of a moon base? Bill Nelson's nomination as NASA administrator is replete with irony MORE, former President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE's pick to lead the agency, who stepped down in January. Bridenstine's appointment was opposed by Nelson, who at the time, said: "The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician."

Bridenstine faced controversy due to his views on climate change, but was most known during his time as administrator for developing the Artemis Program, which aims to have the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024.