Charles Bolden is a former astronaut and a retired Marine Corps general. He is now Obama’s pick for Nasa Administrator. Bolden will be the first black to lead the agency if confirmed by the Senate. Read more about it below including his biography, see photos and watch a video.
Sources are saying that Barack Obama has chosen former astronaut and retired Marine Corps general Charles Bolden to become the NASA administrator. And since we know The One really loves his stage craft, the timing for the official announcement is set to coincide with the landing of the space shuttle Atlantis, which should return to Earth on Sunday barring weather issues.
But Charles Bolden was not The One’s first choice. Earlier this year, Obama
wanted to payoff favored one of his campaign supporters — retired Air Force Gen. J. Scott Gration — but Gration was rejected by opposition on Capitol Hill. Foes in Congress, including Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), himself a former astronaut, also sank the bid of Steve Isakowitz, an Energy Department official.
In fact, Senator Nelson has been one of General Charles Bolden’s biggest champions. The two men flew together aboard a shuttle mission in 1986. Charles Bolden has been called a strong leader and an astronaut’s astronaut — and he’ll need to be with an agency like Nasa that needs to reestablish their purpose — but it seems agency watchers are still just a bit concerned that he lacks a close relationship with Obama. Of course, from where I sit, that’s a really great thing.
Charles Frank “Charlie” Bolden, Jr., was born on August 19, 1946 in Columbia, South Carolina so his age is 62. He is a retired U.S. Marine Corps major general and a former NASA astronaut. General Bolden is a 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy (USNA). He became a Marine Aviator and test pilot.
As a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, he flew more than 100 sorties into North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, in the A-6A Intruder from June 1972 to June 1973. Since then, he has logged over 6,000 hours of flight time.
Charles Bolden was selected an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1980. His technical assignments included: Astronaut Office Safety Officer; Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations; Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center; Astronaut Office Liaison to the Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance Directorates of the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Kennedy Space Center; Chief of the Safety Division at JSC; Lead Astronaut for Vehicle Test and Checkout at the Kennedy Space Center; and Assistant Deputy Administrator, NASA Headquarters. He is also a veteran of four space flights, logging over 680 hours in space. Bolden served as pilot on STS-61C (1986) and STS-31 (1990), and was the mission commander on STS-45 (1992), and STS-60 (1994).
He was a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps until 1994 when he returned to active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. In July 1997, he was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, I MEF, Marine Forces, Pacific. From February to June 1998, he served as Commanding General, I MEF (FWD) in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. In July 1998 he was promoted to his final rank of Major General and assumed his duties as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan. He retired in August of 2004.
After his service, he became Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the USNA. Bolden is also the virtual host of the Shuttle Launch Experience attraction at Kennedy Space Center. He is currently the CEO of a military and aerospace consulting firm.
Charles Bolden has been selected as Barack Obama’s choice as NASA Administrator. He will take office after confirmation by the United States Senate. He will be the first African American to head the agency on a permanent basis.
He and his wife Jackie have 2 grown children.
Charles Bolden Video