There's a new man in charge at NASA, and that could have big implications for Space City. Former Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine was officially sworn in this week as the 13th NASA Administrator. Bridenstine, who was nominated last year by President Donald Trump, takes over after more than a year of interim leadership at the agency. "I think it's great that NASA finally has someone that's not temporary in place to lead the agency, so I think that's always something the employees look forward to," says retired astronaut Clayton Anderson.
In addition to boosting employee morale, Bridenstine will oversee the Trump Administration's bold space agenda. That agenda includes sending astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars. Last year, President Trump re-instituted the National Space Council, with Vice President Mike Pence as chair. "(Bridenstine's) job will be to help implement NASA's vision from the (Trump) Administration, and heading back to the moon, I think, is the right thing to do," says Anderson.
While Anderson thinks Bridenstine is a good choice to lead NASA, he notes that the new administrator will need a lot of help from Congress in order to make progress. "Obviously we need to come up with a solid vision that everybody's behind, but then we need the funding to implement that vision," he says.
If the funding for the President's vision comes through, it could be a major boon for Houston's Johnson Space Center and the entire region. "Space flight and what we do here is one of the important economic benefits for the region, and we need to keep that going forward, if we can make it possible to do that," says Anderson.