May 23rd, 2009
11:29 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama taps ex-astronaut to head NASA

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Charles Bolden flew two space shuttle missions as a pilot and two missions as a commander."]

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.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Lynn

    What difference does it make if he is African American or not? CNN loves the race card! The headline should read that "an extremely qualified man who happens to be African American was selected"

    May 23, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. steve

    A great appointment for a dedicated marine general and astronaut .
    What an inspiration to every young african – American and minorities in this country.

    May 23, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  3. Marie

    Why isn't CNN covering the story of the Conservative Talk Show host who volunteered to be waterboarded to show it was nothing then ended up stating it was definitely torture.

    This story has much more meaning than this story and every news outlet is carrying it except for Fox and CNN.

    May 23, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. Anonymous

    With only 13% of our population being black Africa Americans,why are they getting all of the top jobs ?Because certain people are prejudice maybe?

    May 23, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. S Callahan

    Congratulations C. lets get all those beautfiul Hubble pics online.....and some new ships built !!

    ps..isn't God so awesome to give NASA some beautiful pics of his guiding hand....and protection while doing the repairs!

    May 23, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. travis

    that is wonderful but my comment is everyone says that we are still divided between color i would say yes and no because is NEWS that says african american is taped how cares i was the best person for the job why does a new person have too say what color he was do we say ohh Obama taps a white man for the job.....NO we don't is seems too me that the journalist of this country want the racism too flow guess that is the best news congratz too the man who got it though

    May 23, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Jonathan

    Lets remember that the administrator post needed to be filled because Griffin, former NASA administrator, disagreed with Obama and Garver. Lori Garver is a horrible pick, plain and simple. NASA probably hates the Obama administration. I know nothing of Charles Bolden, but he sounds like a good man. A concern would be that both of the top people do not have an engineering background.

    May 23, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. Nobody Asked Larry But...

    Great choice(s). Take us where no man has gone before.

    May 23, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  9. Howard

    Good choice on Bolden but the deputy position.... not so much.

    May 23, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. travis

    correction too my first statment ...... He was the best man for the job thank u

    May 23, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. Sal Trent

    Watch out nasa.your budget is now in jepordy. as is the whole space program. Most people believe that this program should be cut in order to save social security.15 billion will nor correct the goverment looting of the social security program. I think it is somewhere in the trillions Of lost intrest and funds that were taken. After what our astronuts did this past week it should be a wake up call thet robots can not do everything that we can.

    May 23, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Anonymous

    President Barack Obama on Saturday announced plans to nominate an African-American astronaut to fill NASA's administrator post.

    With only 13% of the US being African-American ,isn't filling all the top jobs with African-American being prejudice ?

    May 23, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Anonymous


    May 23, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Bill

    I know Charley Bolden from my many years at NASA as a Life Science Manager. President Obama could not have made a better pick for Administrator. Good Luck Charley

    May 23, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  15. Barbara Van Dyke

    The selection of Charles Bolden is an excellent choice by President Obama. However, the headline: Obama Taps African-American Astronaut to Head NASA is inappropriate, that is unless all appointments by our president shall include the race of the individual in the headline. That headline is one of the ways the media keeps race as an issue in our collective lives. CNN should be ashamed of themselves for continuing a very poor journalistic practice.

    May 23, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. Melissa

    Sounds like a well qualified individual. Good job Mr. President.

    May 23, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  17. J.C.

    NASA needs a scientist or engineer with management experience to lead the agency, otherwise our future NASA missions will be in jeopardy and waste lots of tax dollars. Dr. Steven Chu would have been a great candidate for leading NASA as well. Nothing is more aggravating than being told what to do by a boss that doesn't know what he or she is talking about. NASA is not a platform for charisma or politics. It is about space exploration, innovations in science and engineering, and national security. I really hope President Obama will reconsider his choices.

    May 23, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. RRP

    Yes! An "african american" to head NASA. As a pose to, a purple big nose freak?Get a grip folks. Change is better chosen rather than forced. Kinda like getting fired from a job you hate, you know your better off in the end even if your to stupit to realize it.

    May 23, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. T-Haight

    So he was in charge of NASA's safety after the Challenger incident, eh? He must have done his job well, since they never had another safety lapse resulting in the loss of a shuttle, right? No? So what's this guy got going for him again?

    May 23, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. mr. D

    another great pick Mr President . Gen. Bolden is a great leader.

    May 23, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. Rocket Scientist

    Wow, what a "no brainer" and why didn't previous Presidents do it. This program will be in good hand.

    May 23, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. Leslie

    It would be nice if CNN reports REAL NEWS instead of Obama adulation. USA is FLAT BROKE and here's CNN busy doing coverup for Obama. Shame on you! USA is losing its AAA rating, 6.6 million Americans drawing unemployment.

    May 23, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. aeo

    He's an astronaut... I don't think these guys come in colors...

    May 23, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. dan

    There's a suprise...some dumb liberal will now be talking about how historical this is now...get over it

    May 23, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. Jeffrey Root

    I think Charles Bolden is the right man for the job. Not because he will be the first African American administrator but because he is a man with real space experience. Talk about a great choice for NASA!

    May 23, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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