Rubio, though, said he does not hold the comments against Bridenstine a former Navy pilot who has served as director of Tulsa's Air and Space Museum.
Bridenstine, 42, who backed Trump during the USA presidential campaign, had always been considered the favorite for the job of NASA administrator.
"It's the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics and it's at a critical juncture in its history", Sen.
The other Florida senator, Bill Nelson, a Democrat, concurred with Rubio telling Politico: "The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician". He now serves on the House Armed Services and Science, Space, and Technology Committees. Both senators they suggested the GOP congressman's political past would needlessly spark a partisan fight in the Senate that could ultimately damage NASA.
The website said Bridenstine has been active on space issues in Congress and was also a staunch supporter of Trump's candidacy in the general election.More news: DUP Wants Power-Sharing Restored Immediately
More news: Kono urges China, Russia to up pressure on N. Korea
More news: Kenya: Supreme court orders fresh elections to be held in 60 days
"He is a strong, principled and effective leader, has been a close ally in the House, and I count him as a dear friend", Cruz said of Bridenstine. "I look forward to working with a new leadership team, and the administration, on NASA's ongoing mission of exploration and discovery".
"I just think it could be devastating for the space program".
Bridenstine has a history of championing private space initiatives, such as mining for minerals on the moon.
Bridenstine has been a vocal proponent of the privatization of space, to the point where he introduced a bill (the American Space Renaissance Act) that would have created "minimal" and "certain" regulations to foster private participation in USA space initiatives.
It remains unclear whether the two senators will vote for or against Bridenstine. The position has been open since Trump's inauguration with acting administrator Robert Lightfoot Jr. serving in the role.
"Of course, the nomination must go through the Senate confirmation process, but I look forward to ensuring a smooth transition and sharing the great work the NASA team is doing".