At 12 PM ET today, Jim Bridenstine officially stepped down from his role as NASA administrator. During his time at the agency, the previous Oklahoma congressman and Naval aviator used his political chops to beat up bipartisan support for the Trump administration’s Artemis program, the agency’s cornerstone initiative to land humans on the Moon by 2024 a deadline widely viewed as nearly impossible to satisfy.
In anticipation of President Joe Biden taking office and therefore the Senate transitioning to Democratic control, Bridenstine, a Republican, spent his final days as an administrator making one last push for the Artemis program, a parting bid to insulate the program from potential cancellation. Last week, he met with top Democrats including Sen. Patrick Leahy, who’s expected to become the second-highest-ranking official within the Senate once Biden takes office.
We have done everything we will create the consensus necessary for this program to be long-term sustainable Bridenstine told The Verge in an interview before heading out. I think as hard as we’ve worked to create the consensus over the last three years, I feel we’re in fine condition. The multibillion-dollar Artemis program will face a replacement administration focused on building consensus around other priorities, including battling the coronavirus pandemic and tackling global climate change.
Already, Congress has balked at the thought of a 2024 deadline for landing humans on the Moon: of the $3.3 billion NASA said it needed for next year’s budget to remain on target for 2024, Congress came up with $850 million. But Bridenstine still views that as a win during an epidemic, NASA’s budget is billions quite what it had been when he took office. The $850 million for NASA marks the primary time Congress agreed to fund a person’s lunar lander since the Apollo program. That’s notable Casey Dreier, senior space policy adviser at The Planetary Society, said in an interview. It didn’t get that far during the constellation program, the last time we tried getting to the Moon.
But it also shows NASA couldn’t successfully make the case to Congress on why they needed the cash now and why they needed it for 2024 Dreier said. On Wednesday, Bridenstine tweeted a final message as an administrator in an emotional three-minute video, emphasizing that eliminating division is vital to enabling long-term success for Artemis and welcoming subsequent administrators who will inherit the program.
With that I greet. And I’ll tell ya, when a replacement team comes in, give all of them your support. Because they have it, they deserve it, and in fact, what we’re trying to try to, we’re not only crossing multiple administrations but multi-decade and multigenerational,” he said. Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s former number two under Bridenstine, assumed the role of acting administrator at noon once Biden was sworn in.
President Biden is predicted to select a lady to fill the NASA administrator role, which has only been occupied by men since the agency’s founding in 1958. His transition team for NASA, led by the director of the National Air and Space Museum, Ellen Stofan, has spent over a month reviewing the agency’s top programs and interviewing agency personnel, but it hasn’t released any hints on where Biden will officially stand on space policy issues. Bridenstine told The Verge he plans to require employers in his home state of Oklahoma but declined to specify what that job is going to be. Asked if he’s running for office again, he said
They say never, but it might take something significant to urge me back to politics. I’ve never been so happy to not be in politics. In the Twitter video, where he choked up thanking NASA employees, Bridenstine ended with an easy message Go get. Go NASA. Ad Astra. The Galaxy Buds Pro is Samsung’s newest wireless earbuds. they are available in Phantom Silver Phantom Violet, and Phantom Black and are available today for $200. With solid microphones, a slim design, and decent battery life, these earbuds have kept all of the great parts of the Galaxy Buds that have preceded them. But what earns them their Pro title are all their extra features.