An amazing space journey from a childhood dream of becoming a pilot to leading NASA
In this episode, we feature my interview with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, conducted from his office at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. in early November 2019. We discuss his incredible space journey, as well as the current and future missions of NASA, including plans to return humans to the Moon, then later to Mars. We also discuss the possibility of life on Mars and elsewhere in the solar system, as well as his opinion that Pluto should be recognized as the ninth planet (hence the photo of us doing the “Pluto salute” with nine fingers in his office!).
James Frederick “Jim” Bridenstine was nominated by President Donald Trump, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and sworn in as NASA’s 13th administrator on April 23, 2018. Bridenstine was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served on the Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.
Bridenstine’s career in federal service began in the U.S. Navy, flying the E-2C Hawkeye off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was there that he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and accrued most of his 1,900 flight hours and 333 carrier-arrested landings. He later moved to the F-18 Hornet and flew at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the parent command to TOPGUN.
After transitioning from active duty to the U.S. Navy Reserve, Bridenstine returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium. Bridenstine completed a triple major at Rice University, and earned his MBA at Cornell University. He has three children with his wife, Michelle.
For more information on NASA’s incredible current & future missions, visit https://www.nasa.gov
Special thanks to photographer Francis Murphy (https://fxmphotography.com) for sharing his space journey in this episode!
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Do you have a fascinating story about how you got passionate about astronomy and/or space exploration? We'd love to hear it! Tell us about your space journey and we may feature your story in an upcoming episode alongside our main guest interview. Just leave us a voicemail (less than 2 minutes long please) at 317-862-4700, or email an audio or video clip to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name and tell us what drew you to space and what you're most excited about for the future of space exploration!
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