Bill Nelson had a lengthy career as a politician at state and federal levels. He also made a name for himself in other endeavors, including the military and, perhaps most uniquely, space travel.

Nelson's resume could make him especially suited for the post of NASA administrator. The last administrator was Jim Bridenstine. His appointment was initially met with skepticism. But under Bridenstine, NASA would make several significant achievements and begin various initiatives. Helping set the stage for a new administrator to take over a very active agency.

Senate confirms Nelson as new NASA administrator

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Bill Nelson, a former member of the body, as the new head of NASA. Axios reports that it was a unanimous confirmation. Nelson has already been a member of the NASA Advisory Council.

NASA is currently working to send astronauts back to the moon, along with other projects. Including a variety of which are hoped to help astronauts reach other planets. MSN notes that Nelson said he would "help lead NASA into an exciting future of possibilities."

The role of NASA administrator had historically been thought of as an apolitical position. However, Nelson makes the second consecutive administrator to have been a prominent elected official.

Jim Bridenstine had been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Oklahoma. Bridenstine also has a significant background in aviation. Including as an officer in the United States Navy and the United States Air Force.

At the time, Bill Nelson was critical of Bridenstine's appointment. "The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician," he said.

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A former long-time Democratic member of Congress himself, Nelson's views may have changed since then.

Of course, Nelson does have an experience that few others, including politicians, do. In 1986, he spent several days in space aboard the space shuttle Columbia. He was a payload specialist on a mission where the main goal was to deploy a communications satellite, which was successfully done.

Another member of the crew, Charles Bolden, would also become the administrator of NASA. He was also a major general in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bill Nelson was the second sitting member of the United States Congress to travel to space. The first was Republican Senator Jake Garn of Utah. Garn was a payload specialist on a 1985 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery. A number of other former astronauts have been elected to Congress after their NASA career concluded.

Nelson served in both the House and the Senate

Nelson served in the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Army. He would attain the rank of captain. Nelson also worked as a staffer for Florida Governor Reubin Askew.

In 1972, he won his first elected office as a member of the Florida House of Representatives.

He'd be re-elected twice. In 1978, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time. His career in the House began with representing the 9th District of Florida. Following a re-districting, he was moved to the 11th District.

Nelson didn't run for re-election to the House in 1990. Rather, he ran in the Democratic primary for governor of Florida. He lost the nomination to former U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles. Nelson later won two terms as treasurer, insurance commissioner, and fire marshal of Florida.

Republican U.S. Senator Connie Mack III opted to retire rather than run for re-election in 2000. Nelson launched a campaign to succeed him. He would win the general election over Republican U.S.

Representative Bill McCollum.

Nelson would be re-elected to the Senate twice. During his tenure, he became the chair of the Senate Aging Committee and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee. In 2018, he was defeated for re-election by Republican Governor Rick Scott.