NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine says he plans to leave his position at the space agency under the new Joe Biden administration, even if he’s asked to stay, according to an interview he did with Aviation Week. Bridenstine said the decision would be to ensure NASA has the right leader who connects with the new president. From a report: “What you need is somebody who has a close relationship with the president of the United States,” Bridenstine told Aviation Week. “You need somebody who is trusted by the administration… including the OMB [Office of Management and Budget], the National Space Council and the National Security Council, and I think that I would not be the right person for that in a new administration.” President Trump nominated Bridenstine, then a Republican representative from Oklahoma, to lead NASA in 2017. Bridenstine’s confirmation became a contentious one, with many lawmakers decrying the idea of a politician running a scientific agency like NASA. “NASA is one of the last refuges from partisan politics,” former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) said during Bridenstine’s confirmation hearing in November 2017. “NASA needs a leader who will unite us, not divide us. Respectfully, Congressman Bridenstine, I don’t think you’re that leader.” Eventually, the Senate did narrowly confirm him in April 2018, with lawmakers voting along party lines.

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