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. Alex

    Awesome pick!

    May 23, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. Sam

    What does the color of his skin have to do with this appointment? As long as you advertise his or her ethnicity then racism will always be an issue in this country. Lets stick to the bigger issues as to why gas has gone up 36 cents a gallon in the last month and why we allow people like Obama to pass executive orders on cafe standards and how ludicrous cap and trade is. Energy will be one of the largest inflation items under Obama and we will see if his minions squeal when gas hits 3 dollars a gallon shortly. He must be buddies with the oil companies like Bush right? Since Bush has left office gas has gone up by 75 cents a gallon. Why is that?

    May 23, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Michael

    I'm no fan of President Obama but this is a first-rate nomination. I met Gen. Bolden about 20 years ago and have been impressed with his career ever since. 4 space shuttle missions and leading the effort to improve NASA safety make him uniquely qualified to lead this important group.

    May 23, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. La Sonda

    Why is that the media ALWAYS has to indicate if the person is "African American". They never do this for ANY OTHER RACE!!!!! Don't they know you can just look at a person and see what "race" they are!!!!!
    They don't say President Obama has nominated a "Gay white male", or a "white female", or a "Asian"!!! This is just something else that proves, race is still a Huge issue in America!!!!!!

    May 23, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. unknown

    Why, does it make top news every time an African American gets a high position, its the biggest news in the world!!! I'm glad that they are getting good positions but lord, let's not make a big deal out of it.

    May 23, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. wth

    why does CNN have to emphasize that he is African American?
    they sure didn't emphasize that Lori Garver was caucasian

    May 23, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. alvino

    And the right wingnuts say, "What?"

    Did anyone see Chicago right wing nut shock jock Mancow get water boarded? He used to say it was not torture, but he only lasted 6 seconds and now says the simulated drowning is torture.

    May 23, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. alvino

    Once again, excellent choices but the right will be on a rampage. (so what else is new)

    May 23, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Ms. G

    As long as Mr. Charles Boden is qualified to hold that office, I don't see any problem with the appointee.

    May 23, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. maxx

    you need a scientist to head NASA not a flight commander...if you really want to push the boundary and explore further out in space.

    May 23, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Jane

    Why is there such emphasis on he's an "African American". Who cares is he qualified for the job?? Thats what matters.

    May 23, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. FAYE, NV

    President Obama always aim for the very best.

    May 23, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. alvino

    How does this help Liz Cheney keep us safe?

    May 23, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. The Party of NO is only "pro-life" so they can kill the "babies" 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war!

    Sounds like two solid choices to me!

    Keep up the good work President Obama!

    May 23, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Ken, Vail, AZ

    To those of you who disagree with this selection and seem to think that you know who would have been a better pick, get yourselves elected President then you can select whoever you want.

    May 23, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Minnesotan

    What a great pick! And it's fun to read the insipid complaints that the conservatives are trying to make. Perhaps they'll find out that he's .... gasp!.... left handed! Oh, no! It's the end of the world! Liberal left handed astronauts! "The liberals are going to send us all into space!" Keep up the silly posts, guys. You're always good for a laugh!

    May 23, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. Steve

    haha, "he is african american". that's like in Watchmen, the announcer was like "the superman is alive, and he IS american!"

    May 23, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Susanne

    Great choice! Good luch Charlie

    May 23, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. David Stanley

    Wow, so the point of the race movement and The Democratic Party was to get people to hire someone based on the color of their skin but rather the content of their character, which as a white man I have strived hard to do. But now you can't tell me that of the 5 % of the Astronauts in America that are black, this black man 'just happened', circumstancially of course, to be the RIGHT man for the job. Great job Mr. President in being the first African American President to be a rascist!

    May 23, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Jim Howell

    This country really needs to get past seeing in color. I think that these are two great appointments and best wishes to them all. I've been a 'space nut' since Sputnik. I wish the General well and NASA well!

    May 23, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. David

    CNN puts too much focus on the race of a person and not their qualifications. There is a picture, it's obvious to whoever what race the person is if that's important to them. But what we don't automatically know are the qualifications. CNN you need to Evolve.

    May 23, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  22. Dawn

    Hey if he is qualified, he should be working at NASA, it does not matter, what color that person is; He or she could be pink with purple polka dots, if they know what they are doing, hats off Mr. President!

    May 23, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. coffeeTime

    Wow! An African-American appointee, and from Obama no less! Shocking, and thanks, CNN, for pointing it out. Why not just take each newsworthy person into a Sherman-Williams store and let them use the little color-matching thingy that they have to assign each of us our actual color. Instead of "black" or "white," we could be something like "graham cracker" and "sea fog." Just a thought.

    May 23, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. jrzshor

    chief executive officer of JackandPanther LLC, a privately-held military and aerospace consulting firm

    doesn't that make him a lobbist?

    May 23, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |

    At least Obama is placing highly qualified people in these jobs. not like Bush, remember heck of a job brownie. to all of you republican that can not get over you lost, get a life.

    May 23, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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