WASHINGTON, D.C.: US President Donald Trump announced Friday he plans to appoint James Bridenstine, a former navy pilot and Republican congressman, to head the US space agency NASA. Bridenstine, 42, who backed Trump during the US presidential campaign, had long been considered the favorite for the job of NASA administrator. According to the trade publication SpaceNews, Bridenstine has been a big proponent of giving the private sector a larger role in space. Bridenstine’s experience is mainly in the military, as a pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as a member of the naval reserves has flown counter-drug missions in Central and South America. He served as executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. He is also a member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. He has degrees from Rice University and Cornell.