Dava Newman, who was born and raised in Helena, was confirmed by a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday to serve as the deputy administrator of NASA.
Newman is now a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was nominated for the NASA position last October by President Barack Obama.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on which Montana Sen. Steve Daines serves, voted unanimously to approve her nomination. It will now go to a vote before the full Senate.
“Dava Newman is an incredibly accomplished Montanan who truly exemplifies our state’s legacy of public service,” Daines said in a statement. “Dr. Newman is uniquely qualified to be NASA Deputy Administrator and I know she will execute and lead with honor and be prepared for whatever challenges may lie ahead.”
Newman still has family in Montana and returns to the state several times each year. She told the Independent Record last fall she is excited to work on commercial space travel and moving NASA toward its long-range goal of sending astronauts to Mars.