Pam Melroy To Be Nominated As NASA Deputy Administrator

Pam Melroy To Be Nominated As NASA Deputy Administrator

President Biden announced his intent to nominate former astronaut Col. Pamela Melroy (Ret.) to be Deputy Administrator of NASA today. The nomination has been widely expected for weeks. It was somewhat overshadowed today by the agency’s announcement that it selected SpaceX to build the Human Landing System to take astronauts to the lunar surface.

Former astronaut Col. Pamela Melroy (USAF, Ret.), NASA Deputy Administrator nominee. Credit: Rosina Possingham.

Melroy is well known in Washington space circles. After leaving NASA, she worked in the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation and at DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. She also worked for Lockheed Martin on the Orion program.

More recently she has been the owner and CEO of Melroy & Hollett Technology Partners and director of Space Technology and Policy at Nova Systems in Adelaide, Australia.

Melroy is a test pilot and aircraft commander/instructor pilot with more than 5,000 hours in 50 different aircraft and more than 200 combat and combat support hours during her assignment to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. She has a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from Wellesley College and a master’s in earth and planetary sciences from MIT.

Melroy was the pilot for two space shuttle missions (STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002) and commanded a third, STS-120 in 2007.  On that flight she became only the second women ever to command the space shuttle (Eileen Collins is the other).  She also served as a member of the Columbia Reconstruction Team as the lead for the crew module, and Deputy Project Manager for the Columbia Crew Survival Investigation, after the 2003 space shuttle Columbia tragedy that killed all seven astronauts aboard.

In a statement, Melroy said it is a “great honor” to be nominated by Biden and help lead NASA, an agency that is “critical in America’s fight to combat climate change and maintain leadership in space.”

Former Senator Bill Nelson, who has been nominated to be NASA Administrator, called Melroy “a dynamic leader with a wide breadth of experience” who will be “a great partner.”  “Together, we will work to help NASA reach its full potential and accomplish the agency’s critical missions in the years and decades to come.”

Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk said she will bring a “unique perspective” to the job. “Pam is driven by a desire to solve the biggest issues here on Earth, throughout the solar system, and beyond.”

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who chairs the space subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, also praised the nomination of Melroy, who is one his constituents, and urged quick confirmation by the Senate.

“In Pamela Melroy the President has chosen a highly qualified nominee, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Hall of Fame astronaut, and an experienced public servant who will be a great Deputy Administrator of NASA. ,,, This is an excellent selection by the President. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to give this nomination swift consideration so that NASA can get a confirmed leadership team at this pivotal moment. I applaud Pamela Melroy on her selection, and look forward to working with her after her confirmation.”  — Rep. Don Beyer

Former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine issued his own statement supporting the nomination.

“I’m extremely pleased to see that the Biden administration has nominated Colonel Pam Melroy for NASA Deputy Administrator. Pam is a friend, and I believe her experience as an Air Force test pilot, Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA, and Space Shuttle commander will serve her well as NASA returns to the Moon under the Artemis program. I urge the Senate to confirm her swiftly.” –Jim Bridenstine

Nelson’s confirmation hearing is next week. It is not clear when the Senate will consider Melroy’s nomination once it is formally submitted.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.