NASA Watch is reporting that the Trump administration has chosen the administrator and deputy administrator of NASA. The new NASA Administrator will be Jim Bridenstine, currently a Republican member of Congress from Oklahoma. The new NASA Deputy Administrator will be John Schumacher, a senior executive at Aerojet. The official announcement is slated to occur sometime after Labor Day.

Bridenstine has shown a keen interest in space issues

Jim Bridenstine, who is in his third and last term in Congress, is the author of the Space Renaissance Act, which proposes a number of reforms for military and commercial space, as well as for NASA.

He expressed an interest in becoming NASA Administrator. Bridenstine is an advocate for a return to the moon, mainly to use its store of water as a source of rocket fuel.

Schumacher is a NASA and aerospace industry veteran

John Schumacher served at NASA in a variety of posts, including chief of staff of the space agency. He later moved to the private sector and is currently a senior executive at Aerojet, a major NASA contractor that is involved in, among other things, the development of the space launch system.

What happens next?

Bridenstine’s and Schumacher’s nomination will be announced at what has been described as a major ceremony sometime in September after Labor Day. They will each have to be confirmed by the Senate, though problems in that process are not anticipated, and things should proceed quickly.

An interesting fact is that both men have served in the Navy and are still in the Navy Reserve. Both men have a depth of experience that should help NASA, especially if they get the support they need from the White House and the newly constituted National Space Council to execute the mission of the space agency.

Bridenstine is a favorite of the commercial space community for his advocacy of regulatory reform in that sector.

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He also has ties with the NASA traditionalists for his support of the Orion and Space Launch System programs. Since he is an advocate for a return to the moon, he is an excellent fit to lead NASA as the space agency pivots toward sending astronauts back to Earth’s nearest neighbor, working in tandem with international partners and commercial companies.

Bridenstine’s first task, presuming that he is confirmed as NASA administrator quickly, will be the development of the FY 2019 NASA budget proposal, with guidance from the National Space Council. The next budget should contain spending that will prepare the space agency for its new mission back to the moon.