Vice President Kamala Harris confirms role as new chair of National Space Council, saying she is 'honored' to take up the role

  • The Biden administration has selected Kamala Harris to lead the National Space Council. 
  • The council was previously led by former VP Mike Pence during the Trump administration. 
  • Harris intends to put her own “personal stamp” on the council, a senior official said. 
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The Biden administration on Saturday appointed Vice President Kamala Harris to chair the National Space Council, according to senior administration officials.

Harris confirmed her new position on Twitter, writing: “As I’ve 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.”

According to an official, Kamala intends to put her own personal stamp on the council. Her priorities are focused on policies including the advancement of STEM education, cybersecurity, supporting the long-term sustainability of commercial space activity, and diversity in the workforce, CNN reported. 

The council was first created by the executive order by President George H.W. Bush. Following the Bush administration, the council was essentially demobilized until it was reestablished by another executive order from President Donald Trump in 2017, per Politico.

The Biden administration plans to operate the work under that same executive order from 2017 but intends to review it to see if changes are necessary, according to CNN.

Following the announcement, Bill Nelson will be instated as the 14th NASA administrator.

Nelson welcomed the news in a statement released by NASA: “The Vice President is the perfect person to lead the federal government’s space policy, which is increasingly complex, with many nations in space.”

Harris recently showed her interest in US spaceflight when making two calls to astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Harris virtually spoke with astronauts, Shannon Walker and Kate Rubins, to mark Women’s History Month, CNN reported. 

Commenting on the likely differences between Harris’ and Pence’s approach, an official told CNN: “I’ll just say without drawing too much of a contrast, I think her approach to this is just going to be to get the job done and use this to lead our space policy. And not really focus, perhaps, as much on big displays, but on getting the work done.”

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