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Biden nominates Bill Nelson, former astronaut and US senator, to direct NASA

Nelson would replace Jim Bridenstine, who recently stepped down.

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The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, was home to the Space Shuttle program. Bill Nelson flew its 24th mission.

Claire Reilly/CNET

President Joe Biden plans to nominate ex-astronaut and former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson to be the next administrator to head up the NASA space program, the White House said Friday. 

The announcement comes nearly two months after the previous head of the space agency, Jim Bridenstine, stepped down from the role, in January, an expected move by the Trump-appointed official. 

Nelson will have to face Senate approval before taking the reins at NASA, but with reportedly widespread bipartisan support, he's expected to coast through confirmation hearings.

Nelson was a member of NASA's 24th Space Shuttle mission, in 1986, orbiting Earth 98 times over the course of six days, according to the White House press release. He also served on multiple subcommittees related to space and science during his time in Congress.