The Biden administration announced over the weekend that Vice President Harris will lead the National Space Council, just like her predecessor, former Vice President Mike Pence, did before her.
“As I said before: In America, when we shoot for the moon, we plant our flag on it. I am honored to lead our National Space Council,” the vice president tweeted after the announcement.
The council, which helps shape important national space policies and space-related national security strategies for the White House, was reinstated under the Trump administration by executive order in 2017 after becoming inactive after the end of the term of former President George HW Bush in 1993..
A senior administration official said Harris plans to put his own “personal imprint on the board,” which will include a focus on issues such as climate change, STEM, workforce diversity. and “support for the sustainable development of commercial space activity”. It will also work to “achieve peaceful exploration with allies and partners”, as well as improve cybersecurity in space systems.
A senior official also confirmed that former Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who has been approved by the US Senate to be NASA’s next administrator, will be officially sworn in by Harris on Monday.
“The vice president is the perfect person to lead the space policy of the federal government,” said Nelson, who in 1986 became the second congressman to fly in space when he was a payload specialist at aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia.
“Vice President Lyndon Johnson was the first president of the National Space Council when America first ventured beyond Earth. Now, Vice President Harris will coordinate our nation’s efforts to ensure America continues to lead in space. It is an exciting time for our space program, “he said.