Administrator of NASA

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Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA seal.svg
NASA Seal
Constituent part of the administrator's standard
Bill Nelson
Incumbent
Bill Nelson

since May 3, 2021
Reports toPresident
SeatWashington, D.C.
NominatorPresident with Senate advice and consent
Term lengthAt the pleasure of the President
Inaugural holderThomas Keith Glennan
Salary$185,100 annually
(Executive Schedule II)
WebsiteBill Nelson, NASA

The administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the highest-ranking official of NASA, the national space agency of the United States. The administrator is NASA's chief decision maker, responsible for providing clarity to the agency's vision and serving as a source of internal leadership within NASA. The office holder also has an important place within United States space policy,[1] and is assisted by a deputy administrator.

The administrator is appointed by the president of the United States and serves at their pleasure, with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. Former senator and astronaut Bill Nelson has served as the administrator since May 3, 2021.

Duties and responsibilities[edit]

The Administrator serves as NASA's chief executive officer, accountable to the President for the leadership necessary to achieve the Agency's mission. This leadership requires articulating the Agency's vision, setting its programmatic and budget priorities and internal policies, and assessing Agency performance.[2]

History[edit]

The first administrator of NASA was Dr. T. Keith Glennan; during his term he brought together the disparate projects in space development research in the US.[3] Daniel Goldin held the post for the longest term (nearly 10 years), and is best known for pioneering the "faster, better, cheaper" approach to space programs.[4] The only person to hold the post twice is James C. Fletcher, who returned to NASA following the Challenger disaster.[5]

The current administrator is former senator and astronaut Bill Nelson, who was nominated by President Joe Biden on March 19, 2021,[6] confirmed by the Senate on April 29, and officially sworn in on May 3.[7]

List of administrators[edit]

Status
  Denotes an acting administrator of NASA
No. Portrait Name Took office Left office Days served President
serving under
1 T. Keith Glennan T. Keith Glennan August 19, 1958 January 20, 1961 885 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Hugh L. Dryden Dr. Hugh L. Dryden January 21, 1961 February 14, 1961 24 John F. Kennedy
2 James E. Webb James E. Webb February 14, 1961 October 7, 1968 1035
1781
(2816 total)
Lyndon B. Johnson
3 Thomas O. Paine Dr. Thomas O. Paine October 8, 1968 March 21, 1969 104
60 Richard Nixon
March 21, 1969 September 15, 1970 543
(707 total)
- George M. Low Dr. George M. Low September 16, 1970 April 26, 1971 222
4 James C. Fletcher Dr. James C. Fletcher April 27, 1971 May 1, 1977 1200
895 Gerald Ford
101
(3258 total)
Jimmy Carter
- Alan M. Lovelace Dr. Alan M. Lovelace May 2, 1977 June 20, 1977 49
5 Robert A. Frosch Dr. Robert A. Frosch June 21, 1977 January 20, 1981 1309
- Alan M. Lovelace Dr. Alan M. Lovelace January 21, 1981 July 10, 1981 171
(220 total)
Ronald Reagan
6 James M. Beggs James M. Beggs July 10, 1981 December 4, 1985 1608
- William R. Graham Dr. William R. Graham December 4, 1985 May 11, 1986 158
7 James C. Fletcher Dr. James C. Fletcher May 12, 1986 April 8, 1989 984
78
(3258 total)
George H.W. Bush
- Dale D. Myers Dale D. Myers April 8, 1989 May 13, 1989 35
8 Richard H. Truly VADM (Ret.) Richard H. Truly May 14, 1989 June 30, 1989 47
July 1, 1989 March 31, 1992 1004
(1052 total)
9 Daniel S. Goldin Daniel S. Goldin April 1, 1992 November 17, 2001 294
2922 Bill Clinton
301
(3517 total)
George W. Bush
- Daniel R. Mulville Dr. Daniel R. Mulville November 19, 2001 December 21, 2001 32
10 Sean O'Keefe Sean O'Keefe December 21, 2001 February 11, 2005 1148
- Frederick D. Gregory Col (Ret.) Frederick D. Gregory February 11, 2005 April 14, 2005 62
11 Michael D. Griffin Dr. Michael D. Griffin April 14, 2005 January 20, 2009 1377
- Christopher Scolese Christopher Scolese January 21, 2009 July 16, 2009 176 Barack Obama
12 Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles F. Bolden, Jr. July 17, 2009 January 20, 2017 2744
- Robert Lightfoot Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. January 20, 2017 April 23, 2018 458 Donald Trump
13 Jim Bridenstine Maj. Jim Bridenstine April 23, 2018 January 20, 2021 1003
- Steve Jurczyk Steve Jurczyk January 20, 2021 May 3, 2021 103 Joe Biden
14 Bill Nelson Captain (Ret.) Bill Nelson May 3, 2021 Incumbent 264

Line of succession[edit]

The line of succession for the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is as follows:[8]

  1. Deputy administrator of NASA
  2. Associate administrator of NASA
    – Deputy associate administrator of NASA (if applicable)
  3. Chief of staff to the NASA administrator
  4. Director of Johnson Space Center (Houston, Texas)
  5. Director of Kennedy Space Center (Merritt Island, Florida)
  6. Director of Marshall Space Flight Center (Redstone Arsenal, Alabama)

In the event of there being no deputy administrator of NASA, and the associate administrator serving as acting administrator, then the deputy associate administrator assumes the role of acting deputy administrator.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NASA Strategic Management Handbook
  2. ^ Chapter 2-Roles and Responsibilities
  3. ^ "T. Keith Glennan biography". NASA. August 4, 2006. Archived from the original on July 8, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2008.
  4. ^ "Daniel S. Goldin biography". NASA. March 12, 2004. Archived from the original on June 15, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2008.
  5. ^ "James C. Fletcher biography". NASA. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2008.
  6. ^ "President Biden Announces his Intent to Nominate Bill Nelson for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration". The White House (in American English). March 19, 2021. Retrieved March 19, 2021.
  7. ^ "List of Administrators and Deputy Administrators of NASA". NASA. Archived from the original on May 21, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  8. ^ "Designation of Officers of the National Aeronautics And Space Administration To Act as Administrator". Federal Register. January 22, 2009. Retrieved October 30, 2016.