Sen. Bill Nelson
Sen. Bill Nelson was sworn in as the 14th NASA administrator on May 3, 2021, tasked with carrying out the Biden-Harris administration’s vision for the agency.
Nelson chaired the Space and Science Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years and the U.S. Senate for 12 years. He then served as the Ranking Member of the full Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Nelson was recognized as the leading space program advocate in Congress.
In 2010, Nelson and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas) passed the landmark NASA legislation that mapped out a new future for NASA and set the agency on its present dual course of both government and commercial missions. In 2017, Nelson and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) authored the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, which expanded NASA’s commercial activities in space.
During his time in Congress, Nelson was a strong advocate for NASA’s Earth science programs and authored numerous pieces of legislation to combat and mitigate the effects of climate change. Nelson was also a vocal proponent for STEM career training and education programs to create and fill the jobs of the future.
In 1986 he flew on the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. The mission on Columbia orbited the earth 98 times over six days. Nelson conducted 12 medical experiments including the first American stress test in space and a cancer research experiment sponsored by university researchers.
Nelson has served in public office over four decades, first in the state legislature and U.S. Congress, then as State Treasurer. He was elected three times to the United States Senate, representing Florida for 18 years. His committees included the breadth of government policy from defense, intelligence and foreign policy to finance, commerce, and health care.
From president of 4-H to international president of the Key Club in high school, Nelson has always known the importance of investing in your neighbors and community to create a better future. Nelson continued to serve his community and country while in college at the University of Florida, Yale, and University of Virginia Law School through various service organizations, school leadership positions. He served on active duty as a Captain in the U.S. Army.
In 1971, Nelson met Grace Cavert of Jacksonville, Florida, while speaking at a statewide young leader convention. Grace has been an active partner in Bill’s public service career. From his first race for a seat in the Florida Legislature, Grace has been by his side knocking on doors and talking to folks about issues that mattered to them and their families. They have two grown children, Bill Jr. and Nan Ellen.
06 December 2022 | 11:10 | MULTIPLYING THE IMPACT OF SPACE AGENCIES
- How can space agencies have a transformational impact on the space environment?
- How are they utilising space as driver for economy and advancement of science & technology?
- How can competition between newly established space agencies and established agencies be channeled to capture the energy of the space race?
- How do we redefine what it means to be a space agency in the age of commercial space programmes?