NASA chief to step down following Donald Trump’s election loss

The shake up surrounding Donald Trump’s failed re-election bid has already begun, with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine announcing his resignation. Mr Bridenstine was appointed by President Trump as head of NASA in 2018, but has no plans to continue when Joe Biden steps into the Oval Office.

Under Mr Bridenstine’s stewardship, NASA has pressed ahead with plans to get back to the Moon, scheduled for 2024 where the space agency will begin building a lunar base readying the lunar satellite for colonisation.

He has also increased NASA’s reliance on the private space sector, most notably Elon Musk’s SpaceX, while progressing the US’s bid to eventually get humans to Mars.

However, Mr Bridenstine, who was a Republican congressman before he landed the top job at NASA, has said that Mr Biden will want someone more in line with his Democratic views.

Mr Bridenstine told Aerospace Daily: “The right question here is ‘What’s in the best interest of NASA as an agency, and what’s in the best interest of America’s exploration program?’

“For that, what you need is somebody who has a close relationship with the president of the United States.

“You need somebody who is trusted by the administration… including the OMB [Office of Management and Budget], the National Space Council and the National Security Council, and I think that I would not be the right person for that in a new administration.

“We’ve had a lot of success, but it’s because of relationships.

“You have to have those relationships. Whoever the president is, they have to have somebody they know and trust and somebody the administration trusts.

“That person is not going to be me.”

Mr Bridenstine has not announced what the next step of his career will be.

He will return to his native Oklahoma, but added that following NASA will be a tough gig.

The 45-year old continued: “I haven’t even begun thinking about that.

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“After you’ve run NASA, to go from doing this to whatever I do next is going to be really hard.

“This has been the greatest experience of my life by far, and I’m so grateful for it.

“But I am under no illusions.

“There are a lot of people that can do great work as the NASA administrator.”

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