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Sun, May 24, 2009

Former Shuttle Pilot/CDR, Charles Bolden, Tapped As Next NASA Boss

Bolden Is First African American Nominated For Post

The White House has nominated a pioneering Space Shuttle astronaut, Charles Bolden, to lead NASA during what may come to be one of its most demanding times.

"Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts: General Charles Bolden, Administrator of NASA and Lori Garver, Deputy Administrator of NASA."

The President added that, "These talented individuals will help put NASA on course to boldly push the boundaries of science, aeronautics and exploration in the 21st century and ensure the long-term vibrancy of America's space program."

Bolden brings extensive experience to the role. Selected by NASA in May 1980, Bolden became an astronaut in August 1981. 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. A veteran of four space flights, he has logged over 680 hours in space. Bolden served as pilot on STS-61C (January 12-18, 1986) and STS-31 (April 24-29, 1990), and was the mission commander on STS-45 (March 24-April 2, 1992), and STS-60 (Feb. 3-11, 1994).

Bolden left NASA and returned to active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, effective June 27, 1994.

Brig. General Bolden is the Assistant Wing Commander, HQ 3rd MAW Miramar, San Diego, California.

Space Flight Experience

STS-61C Space Shuttle Columbia. During the six-day flight crew members deployed the SATCOM KU satellite and conducted experiments in astrophysics and materials processing. STS-61C launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 12. The mission was accomplished in 96 orbits of Earth, ending with a successful night landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on January 18, 1986.

STS-31 Space Shuttle Discovery. Launched on April 24, 1990, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the five-day mission, crew members deployed the Hubble Space Telescope and conducted a variety of middeck experiments. They also used a variety of cameras, including both the IMAX in cabin and cargo bay cameras, for Earth observations from their record-setting altitude over 400 miles. Following 75 orbits of Earth in 121 hours, STS-31 Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on April 29, 1990.

On STS-45 Bolden commanded a crew of seven aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. Launched on March 24 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-45 was the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. During the nine-day mission, the crew operated the twelve experiments that constituted the ATLAS-1 (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science) cargo. ATLAS-1 obtained a vast array of detailed measurements of atmospheric chemical and physical properties, which contribute significantly to improving our understanding of our climate and atmosphere. In addition, this was the first time an artificial beam of electrons was used to stimulate a man-made auroral discharge. Following 143 orbits of Earth, STS-45 Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 2, 1992.

On STS-60 he commanded a crew of six aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. This was the historic first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission involving the participation of a Russian Cosmonaut as a mission specialist crew member. The flight launched on February 3, 1994, from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and carried the Space Habitation Module-2 (Spacehab-2), and the Wake Shield Facility-01 (WSF-1). Additionally, the crew conducted a series of joint U.S./Russian science activities. The mission achieved 130 orbits of the Earth, ending with a landing on February 11, 1994, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Coalition for Space Exploration Supports Nomination

"The Coalition for Space Exploration is pleased that President Obama has named retired Gen. Charles Bolden as NASA administrator and Lori Garver as deputy administrator. Bolden is a strong and experienced leader who will balance the priorities of the agency.

"America's space program is at a critical crossroad. NASA needs a clearly defined plan and unwavering support from the president and Congress to achieve our nation's space exploration objectives. We look forward to working with the new NASA administrator and his leadership team as we address the rapidly approaching human spaceflight gap following retirement of the Space Shuttle, the next generation Constellation program and full utilization of the International Space Station."

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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