Senator Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator & Pam Melroy, Deputy Administrator, will Address to the National Press Club of Australia on "The Artemis Generation: The Future of U.S.-Australia Space Collaboration".
Sen. Bill Nelson was sworn in as the 14th NASA administrator on May 3, 2021, tasked with carrying out the Biden-Harris administration’s vision for the agency.
Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator
Nelson chaired the Space and Science Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years and the U.S. Senate for 12 years. He then served as the Ranking Member of the full Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Nelson was recognized as the leading space program advocate in Congress.
In 2010, Nelson and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Texas) passed the landmark NASA legislation that mapped out a new future for NASA and set the agency on its present dual course of both government and commercial missions. In 2017, Nelson and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) authored the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, which expanded NASA’s commercial activities in space.
During his time in Congress, Nelson was a strong advocate for NASA’s Earth science programs and authored numerous pieces of legislation to combat and mitigate the effects of climate change. Nelson was also a vocal proponent for STEM career training and education programs to create and fill the jobs of the future.
In 1986 he flew on the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. The mission on Columbia orbited the earth 98 times over six days. Nelson conducted 12 medical experiments including the first American stress test in space and a cancer research experiment sponsored by university researchers.
Nelson has served in public office over four decades, first in the state legislature and U.S. Congress, then as State Treasurer. He was elected three times to the United States Senate, representing Florida for 18 years. His committees included the breadth of government policy from defense, intelligence and foreign policy to finance, commerce, and health care.
From president of 4-H to international president of the Key Club in high school, Nelson has always known the importance of investing in your neighbors and community to create a better future. Nelson continued to serve his community and country while in college at the University of Florida, Yale, and University of Virginia Law School through various service organizations, school leadership positions. He served on active duty as a Captain in the U.S. Army.
In 1971, Nelson met Grace Cavert of Jacksonville, Florida, while speaking at a statewide young leader convention. Grace has been an active partner in Bill’s public service career. From his first race for a seat in the Florida Legislature, Grace has been by his side knocking on doors and talking to folks about issues that mattered to them and their families. They have two grown children, Bill Jr. and Nan Ellen.
Col. (USAF, ret) Pam Melroy was sworn in as the NASA deputy administrator on June 21, 2021.
As deputy administrator, Melroy performs the duties and exercises the powers delegated by the administrator, assists the administrator in making final agency decisions, and acts for the administrator in his absence by performing all necessary functions to govern NASA operations. Melroy is also responsible for laying out the agency's vision and representing NASA to the Executive Office of the President, Congress, heads of federal and other appropriate government agencies, international organizations, and external organizations and communities.
Melroy was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1983. As a co-pilot, aircraft commander, instructor pilot, and test pilot, Melroy logged more than 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft before retiring from the Air Force in 2007. She is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Just Cause, with more than 200 combat and combat support hours.
Melroy was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in December 1994. Initially assigned to astronaut support duties for launch and landing, she also worked on advanced projects for the Astronaut Office. She also performed Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) duties in mission control. In addition, she served on the Columbia Reconstruction Team as the lead for the crew module and served as Deputy Project Manager for the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Team. In her final position, she served as Branch Chief for the Orion branch of the Astronaut Office.
One of only two women to command a space shuttle, Melroy logged more than 38 days (924 hours) in space. She served as pilot on two flights, STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002, and was the mission commander on STS-120 in 2007. All three of her missions were assembly missions to build the International Space Station.
After serving more than two decades in the Air Force and as a NASA astronaut, Melroy took on a number of leadership roles, including at Lockheed Martin; the Federal Aviation Administration; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Australia's Nova Systems Pty Ltd; and as an advisor to the Australian Space Agency. She also served as an independent consultant and a member of the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.
Melroy holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in Earth and planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.