The United States has a new President, and NASA has a new top boss. NASA’s Associate Administrator has been elevated to the position of Acting Administrator following the resignation of Jim Bridenstine.
Steve Jurczyk, a NASA veteran of nearly 18 years, has served in leadership from Langley Research Center to NASA HQ since 2003. Jurczyk became Associate Administrator of NASA in 2018. Now he will serve as Acting Administrator of NASA until President Biden nominates and the Senate confirms the next Administrator of NASA.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine followed tradition and submitted his resignation in order to allow the new Biden administration the opportunity to name a new head of NASA. Bridenstine shared a final message before departing NASA in which he encouraged the next head of the space agency to continue the Artemis program while asking the team at NASA to support the new leadership.
Update: Jurczyk and Senior White House Appointee Bhavya Lal issued this statement today:
As we begin this next chapter for NASA, we want to thank Jim Bridenstine and Jim Morhard for their service and leadership of the agency through the many great successes and formidable challenges of the last few years.
We also could not be prouder of how every civil servant and contractor has stepped up to move the NASA mission forward while looking out for the health, safety, and well-being of the entire team. NASA represents the best of America, and the best of American values: hard work, determination, and ingenuity. And this agency has proven, time and again, that anything is possible when we come together, break down barriers, create opportunities, and imagine a new tomorrow.
We face unprecedented challenges in our country today with a public health crisis, economic challenges, and a reckoning with racial injustice and inequality. And all of us – as Americans and as public servants – are called to meet those challenges.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, combating climate change, and creating economic opportunity for all Americans is real – and we all have a role to play in turning that commitment into action. At NASA, we embrace diversity because we understand that different opinions, backgrounds, and perspectives create an enriching environment that fuels innovation and personal growth. Every difference of opinion, background, or perspective is an opportunity to learn and build relationships in the workplace that will make us stronger as an agency and as individuals. This is how we get through difficult times. It’s also how we achieve missions of unparalleled complexity and ambition that inspire the world.
As new members of the NASA leadership team join us and we prepare for an exciting future, we want everyone to know the following:
Your safety, dignity, and right to be seen, heard, and respected are paramount
Your contributions to the NASA mission are critical to our success
Your hard work has been and will continue to be key to helping us move beyond any challenges we face.
We have some initial appointments from the new administration: Alicia Brown has been named NASA’s Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Affairs (OLIA), and Marc Etkind will be the Associate Administrator for Communications. Please join us in giving them a warm welcome to the NASA family. There will be other new faces arriving at Headquarters, and we will communicate these developments with you.
We are excited about the opportunities that await us –the Perseverance Mars landing; the next Launch America mission; our focus on the study of our home planet; and returning American astronauts to the surface of the Moon, and then on to Mars. All of this, and so much more, will be accomplished with the incredible team of civil servants, contractors, and partners we call the NASA family.
Be safe and continue looking out for each other. Together, we can and will achieve great things.
Senior White House Appointee