WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Saturday announced plans to nominate an African-American astronaut to fill NASA's administrator post.
He is Charles Bolden, a retired Marine general who had been selected in 1980 as an astronaut, flying two space shuttle missions as pilot and two missions as commander.
After the Challenger accident in 1986, Gen. Bolden had been named the chief of the safety division at the Johnson Space Center "with responsibilities for overseeing the safety efforts in the return-to-flight efforts," the White House said.
According to the White House, Bolden began his service in U.S. Marine Corps in 1968 and "flew more than 100 sorties in Vietnam from 1972-73."
Bolden is now chief executive officer of JackandPanther LLC, a privately-held military and aerospace consulting firm, the White House said.
Obama also announced plans to nominate Lori Garver, as deputy administrator of NASA. She was lead civil space policy adviser for Obama and helped lead the Agency Review Team for NASA during the presidential transition.
She has served as NASA's associate administrator of the Office of Policy and Plans and primary NASA spokeswoman.
"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," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.