Vice President Kamala Harris’ first act as Chair of the National Space Council was swearing in Bill Nelson as the NASA Administrator Monday morning, reports News 6 partner Florida Today.
Nelson was surrounded by his wife and children and used a family bible for the swearing in ceremony.
Also in attendance was former NASA Administrator under Barack Obama, Charlie Bolden and Pam Melroy, the current nominee for Deputy NASA Administrator. Former administrator under Donald Trump, Jim Bridenstine attended virtually.
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Nelson said he wanted both previous administrators there “to show the continuity and bipartisanship with which you run the nation’s space program, particularly NASA.”
Nelson took the oath next to a moon rock returned during Apollo 16.
Former Senator Bill Nelson was ceremonially sworn in as the 14th @NASA Administrator today by @VP Kamala Harris. Check out photos of the event: https://t.co/D4NnnM7yJ1 pic.twitter.com/8cCKtMolLo— NASA HQ PHOTO (@nasahqphoto) May 3, 2021
“To have the President and Vice President have this kind of confidence in an old buddy from the Senate is indeed one of the high honors that anyone could have,” he said.
On Saturday, the White House confirmed that it will continue the National Space Council and that Harris will lead it.
“The Vice President is the perfect person to lead the federal government’s space policy, which is increasingly complex, with many nations in space,” said Bill Nelson, who the U.S. Senate confirmed as the 14th NASA administrator on April 29.
The National Space Council is a body within the Executive Office of the President that consists of cabinet level members including the secretaries of Defense, Commerce and Transportation. It was disbanded in 1993 but re-instated by President Trump in 2017 and chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.
Senior administration officials said the vice president “intends to put her own personal stamp” on the job.
The officials said her priorities include a sustainable development of commercial space, advancing peaceful norms and responsible behaviors in space, achieving peaceful exploration objectives with allies and partners, climate change, promoting STEM, workforce diversity, regional economic development, and enhancing cybersecurity in space systems.