The U.S. space program has been a source of national pride and inspiration for decades. From the iconic high of the first lunar landing to the heartbreak of the Challenger disaster, America’s space missions have captured the imaginations of generations and created technological advances that have had impact far beyond space flight. We recently had the opportunity to speak with NASA’s newest director, Jim Bridenstine. He talks about NASA’s remarkable past, America’s vision for the future of space exploration, and our close cooperation with the Canadian Space Agency in this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

Guest

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. In 2012 he was elected 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.

Moderator

John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming.