This enthusiasm is not surprising. Nelson is a staunch supporter of manned spaceflight.
But even as the agency strives to send astronauts to the moon, it is also navigating in increasingly complex manned space situations closer to Earth. So far, NASA has been monopolizing manned spaceflights launched from the United States, either directly performing these missions, or chartering a flight full of American astronauts during the year that SpaceX flies to the space station. . Government. With the rapid decline of milestones in private space flight,
NASA will lose this monopoly this year. Blue Origin’s goal is to make its first manned suborbital flight in July, with passengers including founder Jeff Bezos. SpaceX plans to launch its first non-NASA mission on the Crew Dragon spacecraft in September. In early 2022, the International Space Station itself will receive the first batch of completely private astronauts and stay in orbit for a week, which was also launched by SpaceX.
This is a form of space flight, which Nelson may be familiar with unfamiliarly. Nelson brought his unique qualifications to his role as a NASA administrator. Although he was never a professional NASA astronaut like his deputy Pamela Melroy, he spent a little more than six days in orbit on the Columbia Space Shuttle in 1985 as a payload specialist.
At that time, he was both a regional representative and the center and chairman of the Space Science and Applications Subcommittee of the Kennedy Space Company House Science and Technology Committee. According to a statement from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, with this flight, he became the second incumbent member of Congress to enter orbit through NASA’s initiative, which allowed the chairman of its mission and permit committee to “join their NASA Supervisory functions related to flying in space. The York Times at the time.
At the time, the show was controversial. The crew allegedly gave Nelson the nickname “ballast” because scientific researchers did not want their research to be in the hands of inexperienced people. According to the Orlando Sentinel at the time, his training lasted about two months and the agency would spend about $100,000.
However, the template for space flight is no different from the flight that will begin later this year, when non-NASA employees will have access to orbital travel, this time based on their wealth, luck, or connections, rather than your position in Congress.
In Nelson’s opinion, it is good and inevitable that there are more people entering the space. He said, “I think other people will have the opportunity to have this experience, which is exciting for people on earth.” “I think this is a natural evolution, and we are increasingly on earth. In space.”
When asked what is the value of more people experiencing space for themselves, he said: “Understand the incredible creation we live by.”
(The NASA administration looks like a flight risk that Nelson made. “Don’t be surprised if you see me as a stowaway for something!” be flying. It was discovered earlier.)
For many of these private flights, Nelson won’t have much to do. “If it’s a direct private mission, like a SpaceX mission, then it’s more within his jurisdiction,” Nielsen said, referring to the Inspiration4 mission scheduled to launch in mid-September, independently orbiting Earth. “But of course, without the involvement of NASA, SpaceX could not achieve the level of security that they have achieved.”
For missions such as the Axiom Space flight in January 2022, when commercial passengers will visit the space station, Nelson believes that NASA is ensuring all The safety aspects of relevant personnel play a more active role, although he praised Axiom’s method of hiring retirees and NASA astronauts to direct each flight and guide the long-term interaction between the visiting crew and astronauts.
NASA Director Bill Nelson addressed the agency on June 2, 2021.
NASA Director Bill Nelson addressed the agency on June 2, 2021.
(Image source : NASA / Bill Ingles)
Science, On Earth and Beyond
Although manned spaceflight is clearly Nelson’s passion, he will also oversee the agency’s major ongoing science programs.
Perhaps the most obvious change under the leadership of Nelson and the Biden administration that elected him is the mix of geosciences, which Trump repeatedly tried to cut back. Biden has made climate change the cornerstone of his administration’s priorities, and Nelson said NASA plays a leading role in this regard. Nelson said at the confirmation hearing on April 21, “Unless you measure it, you can’t mitigate climate change.”
Nelson has announced his government’s first earth science plan, one called Earth System The Observatory’s five-mission plan, which is based on the 2018 outline of how earth science should develop in the next few ten years. The plan’s first mission is to study how the earth’s surface changes during earthquakes, landslides, and other disasters. The mission has been in operation for nearly ten years and will launch in January 2023.
Nelson has begun making the first mission selection announcement during his tenure. On June 2, it announced that the agency would launch two new spacecraft to Venus as part of its medium-sized discovery mission planetary science program. The new missions DAVINCI+ and VERITAS are scheduled to be launched between 2028 and 2030. They will focus on the atmosphere and surface of Venus, respectively, as scientists try to unravel the mystery of the strange twins of the planet.
So Nelson oversaw a lot of operations and took office less than two months.


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