The White House officially launched on September 2 a list of nominees for key positions in President Trump’s Administration.

One of those nominees was the Republican representative of Oklahoma’s 1st District, James “Jim” Bridenstine, designated to be the 13th NASA Administrator. This is the first time that a politician is chosen to fill such a position.

Jim Bridestine. Image Credit: Tulsa World
Jim Bridenstine. Image Credit: Tulsa World

The Republican member enters the NASA at a time where the space agency is looking to think more about private flights, and Bridenstine is a strong supporter of commercial space flights. This fighter pilot wants NASA to go back to not only the moon but the entire space. He intends on organizing trips to the Earth’s satellite to search for water ice, and seize the ongoing-construction of the new rocket that might allow astronauts to travel to many destinations.

However, he has to be confirmed by the Senate. There are already two senators who represent Florida’s Space Coast that are against this because they believe that politicians are not fit for these roles.

“We hope the new administrator embraces NASA’s strong commitment to science and public engagement,” said the executive vice-president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) in Washington DC, Heidi Hammel “AURA looks forward to working with the new NASA administrator to ensure that the agency maintains a robust science portfolio.”

James “Jim” Bridenstine, a Republican politician who wants astronauts back in the space

Bridenstine has been under Trump’s view for this position for a while. He studied economics, business, and psychology at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He is a former Navy pilot who has performed combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and anti-drug operations in Central and South America.

Bridenstine also forms part of the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. There he has developed his policy about space, trying to reach to all the necessary parts, including the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s space-transportation conference.

He took his first significant step in 2016 when he presented to the White House legislation to prioritize the Mars expedition, intensify the development of commercial space flights, and possibly a space base on the Moon.

Bridenstine is very skeptical about climate change

The space enthusiast has also argued against Barack Obama and his policy to avoid greenhouse gases. In 2013, he criticized the American ex-President for spending money on climate research instead of weather forecasting. He is also pro-oil and gas exploration on American lands.

Bridenstine separated human activity from climate change, according to an Aerospace America in a 2016 interview. “I would say that the climate is changing. It has always changed. There were periods of time long before the internal combustion engine when the Earth was much warmer than it is today.”

However, it seems that Bridenstine has assured his place in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It will be a challenge for him to maintain his promise of commercial flights after the first one was delayed to 2018, according to an April report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Source: Scientific American