WASHINGTON – Jim Bridenstein used his last full day as NASA’s administrator to ask the incoming administration to continue the Artemis program and bring humans back to the moon.
A January 19 briefing on the Green Run static-fire test of the space launch system three days earlier became an opportunity for Bridenstein to leave the agency on January 20 at the end of the Trump administration. His desire to see Job and the agency’s manned space exploration program continues.
“How do we create a program that can stand the test of time?” He said, looking at the beginning and halt of dating efforts back to the Space Exploration Initiative three decades ago. “We need our Artemis program, we need our Moon to Mars program to span generations.”
The failure of previous efforts means that Bridenstein, born in 1975, is the first NASA administrator not alive when people last walked on the moon. “I think it’s important that I’m the last NASA administrator in history who wasn’t alive when we were people living and working on the moon,” he said. “This is a failure of the United States and humanity. We need to make sure that we are leading the world in the return to the Moon and to Mars. “
The incoming Biden administration has not detailed its plans for the space agency. A Democratic Party forum published last July indicated support for a human return to the moon, but did not support the Trump administration’s 2024 goal to do so, the industry’s most deadline now given limitless funding and See as technical challenges.
In an interview after the January 16 Green Run test at the Stannis Space Center, Bridstein said, “NASA needs to go back and look at the moon as soon as possible.” This was made more difficult, he admitted, by the lack of funding for the Human Landing System (HLS) program to develop the crude lunar landers, which NASA’s only one of the $ 3.3 billion sought for fiscal year 2021- A fourth was received.
In the call, Bridenstein said that NASA was still analyzing the impact of reduced HLS funding for that 2024 target, noting that the omnibus spending bill was signed into law less than a month later. “NASA is doing its job to find out, number one, whether we need to change plans,” he said. “I have no doubt that the wonderful people at NASA are going to present many options for our return to the moon that the next administration can fully buy and support.”
Those plans, he said, should include SLS in earlier interviews. “If we are talking about sending humans to the moon, then it is the most likely to succeed at the best possible time,” he said. “Given the amount of effort and time and investment already done, let’s just get it to the finish line and then go from there.”
Successor of bridenstein
Braidstein is leaving NASA with a relatively farewell, such as a farewell ceremony. Jim Morhard, the late deputy administrator, posted a tribute video on Twitter to Bridenstein January 19, thanking him for leading the agency.
.@JimBridenstine Served @NASA With determination and passion. This agency accomplished amazing feats under his leadership and created history many times. Thanks and Advertising Astra! pic.twitter.com/kFVvbJPn7E
– Jim Morhard (@jmorhard) 19 January 2021
“It’s been an emotional week,” Bridenstein said in the interview. He said he was “bidding us farewell to people” just before the Green Run Test.
With Bridenstein and Morhard’s departure, NASA partner Steve Jerkzy will serve as the Senate’s acting administrator until the Biden administration’s nomination, and the Senate confirms a permanent successor. The new administration has not said when it announces any candidates, but has announced its “science team” Jan. 15, including the nomination of geneticist Eric Lander as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Shortly after the election, a number of potential candidates for NASA Administrator emerged, mainly women. They include former astronaut Pam Melroy, former aerospace corporation chief executive Wanda Austin, and former Union government Congressman Kendra Horn, who chaired the House Space Subcommittee at the last Congress.
“I think the Biden-Harris administration would love to name a lot, from what I understand, to the first female NASA administrator,” said Jack Burns, professor of astronomy at the University of Colorado who served on the NASA transition team for Trump Of. During a session of the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society four years ago, the administration added 14. “Some of the names that have been put forth are very well qualified.”
In the interview, Bridenstein offered a similar assessment, but without identifying any particular candidates. “I’ve heard some names, all are very qualified, very capable people,” he said. “I believe the future is bright.”
This transition work has taken place quietly, and has been seen without some conflict and drama at other agencies where the outgoing Trump administration was crude. “NASA’s position is actually closer to normal in both the previous infection and this infection,” Burns said. “In speaking to the Biden-Harris transition team for NASA, I have the sense that there has been good collaboration.”
Bridenstein said he has no plans for his future after NASA, except to return to Oklahoma and spend time with his family. “I love space, but I don’t know what the future holds,” he said when asked if he wanted to remain in the industry in some way. “We’ll have to see.”
Breidenstein said he would work closely with the agency next month, with plans to see the Mars 2020 Rover’s landing and Artemis 1 launch next month. He also pledged to support that he succeed as a leader of NASA. “Whoever is the next administrator of NASA, I’m going all in,” he said in the interview. “Although I can help them, I want to help them.”
He repeated that point at the end of the Green Run briefing. “I’m watching with great interest,” he said. “There will be a new NASA administrator, and when that person arrives, they are going to fully support me to do the amazing work that NASA does.”