The search is on for a new leader at NASA.

  • As President Donald Trump took office on Friday, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden stepped down
  • Search is on for new NASA administrator
  • Oklahoma Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine is rumored to take over

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden resigned on Friday, just as President Donald Trump took office. Bolden has not publicly revealed why he resigned from NASA.

There’s naturally concern and curiosity about what’s next for the thousands of employees that work at Kennedy Space Center. Bolden was picked by former President Barack Obama to oversee the end of the shuttle program and the rise of commercial space.

It’s now up to Trump to pick a successor.

“I would imagine by the summer time we’ll have a new leader who will start putting his or her fingerprints on the agency,” said Space Florida’s Dale Ketcham.

Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot is now the acting administrator until Trump appoints a new leader.

The president mentioned space in his inaugural address on Friday.

“We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space,” he said.

The big decision for Trump is whether he will choose a new administrator that prefers NASA leading missions on its Orion/SLS vehicles or contracting commercial companies like SpaceX and Boeing to handle its missions.

Another consideration is if Trump will direct NASA to go back to the moon instead of Mars.

There are a lot of questions, but Ketcham said the Space Coast is prepared no matter what.

“Florida is in a pretty good position to deal with any significant changes in NASA profile,” said Ketcham, “but there’s that uncertainty out there that I think we’re going to have to deal with.”

Trump has not released any names for the role of NASA Administrator, but one name that has been floated around Washington is Oklahoma Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine.

Bridenstine is a former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium and a lieutenant commander with the U.S. Navy.

In addition, he introduced the American Space Renaissance Act, which "includes separate sections covering military, civil and commercial policy topics, from changes to responsibilities for space situational awareness to giving the NASA administrator a fixed five-year term," reported Space News.