The Honorable James F. (Jim) Bridenstine was elected to the Board of Trustees of The Aerospace Corporation effective June 8, 2021. Previously, Bridenstine was the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where he led the agency’s advancement in American aeronautic, science, and space exploration objectives.
Under Bridenstine’s leadership, NASA launched its new human lunar exploration mission, the Artemis program, which seeks to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the moon by 2024—the first human landing since the end of NASA’s Apollo missions in 1972.
Through the Artemis program, NASA is developing state-of-the-art spacecraft, systems, and a lunar-orbiting space station that will provide the nation’s astronauts greater access to the moon’s surface than ever before, paving the way for a future crewed mission to Mars.
During Bridenstine’s tenure, NASA once again launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil, something that had not been done since the retirement of the space shuttles almost ten years prior. Partnering with commercial industry, Bridenstine sustained a human presence on the International Space Station and oversaw its continued commercial resupply. NASA’s dynamic science portfolio included the development of a quiet supersonic aircraft and an all-electric aircraft; a life-seeking Mars rover; enhancement of the nation’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites; and final preparations of the James Webb Space Telescope.
Prior to that, Bridenstine served in the U.S. House of Representatives where he represented the 1st District of Oklahoma and served on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He began his career in federal service in 1998 as a pilot in the U.S. Navy, flying combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and, in the process, logging the majority of his 1,900 flight hours and 333 arrested landings on an aircraft carrier. He continued flying at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the parent command to TOPGUN. Bridenstine then transitioned from active duty to the U.S. Navy Reserve, returning to Oklahoma where he served for two years as executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium.
Bridenstine earned bachelor’s degrees with a triple major in economics, business, and psychology from Rice University, and an MBA from Cornell University.