Jim Bridenstine’s pick as NASA chief raises questions
The US Senate on Thursday, April 19, narrowly voted President Donald Trump-nominated Republican Representative Jim Bridenstine as the new chief of US space agency, NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Bridenstine won the voting procedure 50-49.
The 42-year-old is a pilot in the US Navy Reserve and former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. He was elected to the US Congress to represent Oklahoma's First Congressional District in 2012.
Currently, Bridenstine is on the House Armed Services Committee as well as the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Though Nasa's acting administrator Robert Lightfoot welcomed Bridenstine on board, the latter's choice also sparked controversies.
According to a Vox report, Nasa administrators are generally picked from within the space agency's ranks or are those who have a military or science background. Bridenstine brings none of those qualifications. "Even members of Bridenstine's own party have voiced concerns over what putting a politician in charge could mean for the future of the agency," the Voice report said.
The Republican Congress member will fill up the post after it fell vacant in January 2017 when Charles Bolden, Nasa's leader under former president Barack Obama stepped down.
Bridenstine said he was humbled by being given the opportunity to lead Nasa and would work hard towards fulfilling the president's dream of seeing America leading in space.
US Vice President Mike Pence also welcomed Bridenstine's elevation.