Bridenstine To Step Down As NASA Administrator, Says Will Stay In Oklahoma Moving Forward

Tuesday, January 19th 2021, 6:16 pm

Oklahoman Jim Bridenstine will wrap up his time as NASA Administrator Wednesday morning, ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.  

The former 1st District congressman has served as NASA Administrator since April 2018.

NASA started its mission to land on the moon by 2024, through the Artemis program, under Bridenstine's leadership.   

On a phone call with reporters Tuesday for his last press conference, Bridenstine talked about last Saturday’s rocket test in Mississippi, which only lasted 67 seconds instead of the hopeful eight minutes. 

Bridenstine emphasized to reporters over the weekend this was not a failure but a success, and an example of the reason NASA does tests like these.  Bridenstine said the test was done on the same rocket that will eventually be used to launch "Orion" for the moon landing. 

Bridenstine announced in November he would step down from his position after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in, telling Aerospace Daily his decision was not based in partisan reasons but rather, to "ensure that, politically, NASA has the best chance of thriving under new leadership." 

Bridenstine, who is 45, has not indicated what is next for him, but confirmed to News On 6 on Tuesday he will stay in Oklahoma. 

"I don't have anything to share about what's next for me yet. But I do plan to live in Oklahoma. I'm looking forward to attending all of my kids' soccer games and swim meets and scouting events and doing all the things that I've missed out on for the last eight years,” Bridenstine said.  

Wednesday at noon ET, NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk will take over as Acting Administrator until President-elect Biden names a new person for the job, and that person is confirmed by the Senate.