Rep. Jim Bridenstine expected to lead NASA

ARSTECHNICA.com is reporting that National Air and Space Administration (NASA) may finally be getting an administrator – pilot and Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R) who is expected to provide clarity in leadership for the agency.

While rumored for months, NASA Watch first reported Tuesday the President will nominate Bridenstine as administrator and Aerojet Rocketdyne Vice President John Schumacher as deputy administrator. But there have yet been no official confirmations.    

Two sources familiar with Washington, DC, space politics confirmed the choices to Ars.

President Donald Trump, center, listens to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., gesturing left, after signing the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, alongside members of the Senate, Congress, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-OK, is seen in the background on the right. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Ars reports a formal announcement has been in the works for September, but a date and location have not yet been set. “To the best of my knowledge, there have been no White House announcements on this subject matter at this time,” NASA’s associate administrator for communications, Jen Rae Wang, told Ars on Tuesday evening.

John Logsdon, a noted space historian and author of several books, including After Apollo: Richard Nixon and the American Space Program, said he has been hearing the same names.

“Appointing Jim Bridenstine and John Schumacher as the top two NASA officials is an intriguing and potentially very productive move,” Logsdon told Ars, via e-mail. “Bridenstine, for several years, has been conceptualizing what is needed for, as he suggests, an ‘American Space Renaissance’ and has been testing his ideas with multiple audiences.

Schumacher is a Washington space community veteran, with years of both senior NASA and space industry executive experience. Together, they can bring both fresh ideas and a sense of political and policy realism to the space agency.”

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