Huntsville's Robert Lightfoot takes reins of NASA as acting administrator

Updated: Jan. 19, 2017 at 8:32 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - At 11 a.m. Friday, without the pomp and circumstance of the presidential swearing in, a transition will take place within NASA.

Administrator Charlie Bolden's resignation takes effect and NASA's top civil servant will take over as acting NASA administrator.

President-elect Donald Trump has not nominated or appointed a successor, so the agency's top guy will temporarily grab the reins. That guy is Huntsville's Robert Lightfoot, former Marshall Space Flight director and current associate NASA administrator.

Lightfoot will take over until a new administrator is appointed and approved after Senate confirmation hearings.

Lightfoot began his stint at NASA in 1989. He moved up the ranks at Marshall and NASA, even serving as manager of the Space Shuttle Propulsion office in Huntsville. Lightfoot served as deputy director of the MSFC from 2007 to 2009. He became Marshall Space Flight Center director in 2009.

How long Lightfoot will remain as acting NASA administrator before anyone is nominated is anyone's guess.

Former administrator Mike Griffin, who lives in Madison, was nominated in March 2005 and approved by the Senate a month later. Most recently, astronaut and retired Maj. Gen. Charlie Bolden was nominated in May 2009 and confirmed in July 2009.

A NASA transition team to bridge administrations has been in place since the November election. Included on that team is Dynetics Vice President Steve Cook.

READ MORE: Dynetics VP named to Trump's NASA Transition Team

That team formally disbands Friday morning when Trump is sworn in as U.S. president and the transition is complete. After that, a "beachhead" team will continue to gather information on the state of the agency for the person nominated by Trump to lead it.

Copyright 2017 WAFF. All rights reserved.