The Day

NASA nominee says he’ll try to stick to Trump’s schedule for return to the moon

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Washington — Former Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., President Joe Biden’s pick to be NASA administra­tor, said during his confirmati­on hearing Wednesday that he would push to land the astronauts on the moon as soon as possible, carrying on the key space policy program of the Trump administra­tion.

Nelson said the ambitious moon program, dubbed Artemis, transcends politics and that it “has to be continued, regardless of who’s in the majority, of who’s in the presidency.”

Nelson was one of three Biden administra­tion nominees who appeared simultaneo­usly before members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transporta­tion Committee in a hearing notable for an often head-snapping switch among topics. The other nominees were Lina Khan, named to be a member of the Federal Trade Commission, and Leslie Kiernan, who Biden has tapped as general counsel of the Department of Commerce.

A longtime advocate of space exploratio­n who flew on the space shuttle in 1986, Nelson, 78, is expected to win confirmati­on handily and was praised by senators on both side of the aisle. During her opening remarks, Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Commerce, Science and Transporta­tion Committee, said Nelson’s “reputation as a tireless advocate for the space program is well deserved. And at this moment NASA needs a great advocate that we all can be confident in.”

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