Friends of the LBJ Library | Jan, 10 2024 6:30PM - 7:30PM
Friends members and invited guests from UT Austin joined us for a conversation with the head of NASA, former Senator Bill Nelson, who will address the future of American space exploration including the Artemis program, partnerships with private companies, the impending retirement of the International Space Station; and more. Former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a NASA Advisory Council member, moderated the conversation.
About the Speakers
Senator Bill Nelson was sworn in as the 14th NASA administrator in May 2021. He is tasked with carrying out President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ vision for NASA to demonstrate American leadership in air, space, and on Earth for the benefit of all humanity.
Senator Nelson has devoted almost five decades of his life to public service. A fifth-generation Floridian, Nelson represented the state for 18 years in the U.S. Senate and 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served on key committees, including as ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee and chairman of the Subcommittees on Science and Space in both the Senate and the House.
During Nelson’s three terms as a U.S. senator, nearly every piece of space and science law has had his imprint, including the landmark NASA Authorization Act of 2010 that he authored with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. This law mapped out a new future for America’s space program and set NASA on its present dual course of both government and commercial missions. Additionally, Nelson and Senator Ted Cruz authored the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, which expanded NASA’s commercial activities in space.
In 1986, he trained and flew with the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia, the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. They orbited Earth 98 times over six days and Nelson conducted 12 medical experiments, including the first American stress test in space on a treadmill and a cancer research experiment sponsored by university researchers.
Kay Bailey Hutchison served as the United States Ambassador to the National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from 2017 to 2021. She focused on the importance of U.S. leadership in the Alliance and strengthening the transatlantic bond that provides the security umbrella for Europe and North America.
From 1993 to 2013, Hutchison represented Texas in the U.S. Senate. She was elected by her peers to chair the Republican Policy Committee, making her the fourth-ranking member of the Republican Leadership in the U.S. Senate. She was the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Chair of the Military Construction Subcommittee on Appropriations.
Currently, Hutchison serves on the Bank of America Global Board, the LBJ Foundation Board, and the NASA Advisory Council.