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NASA welcomes a new administrator and delays manned launch

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifts off from pad 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The mission will send a Mars rover to the Red Planet to search for signs of life, explore the planet’s geology and much more. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

President Biden’s pick to be the new administrator for NASA is a former astronaut and Senator.

Bill Nelson, will testify at his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill today and will be on familiar ground as a long time advocate for space travel.

Nelson flew into space as a congressman and now the former Florida Senator is seeking the Senate’s vote for his shot as the next NASA administrator.

Nelson, who hails from Florida’s Space Coast, spent 30 years in Congress and is well known for his support of the space industry and human spaceflight.
As a congressman he flew on the space shuttle in 1986.

His confirmation hearing is set for Wednesday morning before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee on which he served for many years.

Two Senators have publicly endorsed Nelson’s nomination: Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who chairs the committee, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Representative Bill Posey (R – Rockledge) was one of the earliest to endorse him as well.

During the hearing Nelson will likely be asked about NASA’s Artemis moon mission which is several years behind schedule and over budget. On Monday, the NASA Office of Inspector General released a report detailing the program’s successes and shortfalls.

“The agency faces significant challenges that we believe will make its current plan to launch Artemis I in 2021 and ultimately land astronauts on the Moon by the end of 2024 highly unlikely.”

Bad weather offshore has forced SpaceX and NASA to delay tomorrow’s manned launch of the Crew Dragon by a day. Better conditions are expected on Friday for a 05:49 am EDT (0949 GMT) liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center.