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. Big red shoes

    We are the best good pick Mr President.

    May 23, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. skyhawkdriver

    I congratulate the president on this pick..the general definatly has the experience..however I do question the appointment of lori grover as deputy..and she is qualified how??..not to rain on anybodys' party here but in the absence of the director she would have to step up and run nasa..I don't see where she is qualified to do that..and a previous posted commented on the price of it due to the fact the the president is no longer named bush??..some are saying that gas will be $3.00 or higher by summer..if bush was still the man people would be outraged..of course the annointed one gets a pass..on a lighter note information has it tha t joe biden has started his trip to the middle east..if anyone sees him hitchiking on the side of the road please give him a lift

    May 23, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. whaley41

    Great choice for this office. Good for NASA and good for the United States. A man with experience.

    May 23, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Brook Mantia


    May 23, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Trader451

    First and Foremost, he is an American NOT an African American. He was born HERE not THERE. He is very well qualified and that is very good. My ONLY reservation is that he is from the Safety side of things which implies adversion to risk. NASA in that mindset accomplishes very little. If NASA were in charge of getting us across the Mississippit river 150 years ago we would still be tossing things to the other side wonder if life could be supported over there. I hope he is more than a place holder and shakes up the place.

    May 23, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Arack Bobama

    All these accolades from loony libs and messiah cultists who know absolutely NOTHING about this nomination other than it comes from the hand of their socialist leader. They are completely irrelevant.

    May 23, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Calm Down

    Would there be a potential conflict of interest with him working for a military consulting firm and then heading NASA? I guess we shouldn't worry about that, but should focus more on the fact that he's black. Hello!? We got a black president now! Any other black firsts are not notable or impressive anymore. Unless you find out Jesus was black, stop it with the "black firsts."

    May 23, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. T-man

    Wow! How when a White President names a White American to a high post, No Problem! But, when a Black President names a Black American to the same post it become a "Color" issue!

    Lets' no forget that it was Bush (a white president) that named Brown (a white man) to head of FEMA. And his only (un)qualification was that he was a "Horse" trainer. Remember Hurricane "Katrina"!!!!

    May 23, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. Claxton

    I had occasion many years ago to meet General Bolden when he came and gave a lecture at my college. Having met the man and knowing his track record, I'd say that the president made an outstanding pick. He will be only the third astronaut to lead the space agency, following Richard Truly and Frederick Gregory (who served as Acting Administrator when Sean O'Keefe left to become chancellor of LSU). I wish the general nothing but continued success.

    May 23, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. C Spurgeon

    He sounds extremely qualified. What happened to the one in place? I don't know anything about the 2nd pick? why doesn't CNN talk about qualifications and not race.

    May 23, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. MJHS1967

    Our "Father" who art in HEAVEN...hollowed be thy name. Thank you for your infinite wisdom!!! 🙂

    May 23, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Lori

    An excellent pick by President Obama yet again! Bolden has an excellent record. Ladies and gents, we are in good hands for the next 4 to 8 years with this President!

    May 23, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Just wondering why after he 'fixed' safety after Challenger we had the Columbia disaster caused by known safety issues.

    May 23, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Alan

    Can ONE of you predjudiced complainers on here point out to my - listed by name - the 13% of the Obama administration and cabinet that are black, matching the statistic you're so stupidly using to supposedly "justify" your own racial hatred?

    May 23, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Nate Carlson

    I have met General Bolden when he was flying shuttles back in the early 90s and I was working at KSC. Just an absolutely fantastic choice to head the agency.

    This is the first NASA administrator that I have gotten excited about in the past decade and this is a key juncture for the agency with the shuttles going off line.

    I hope NASA continues to be a priority despite the terrible world economy.

    May 23, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. libs be dopes

    I have met him and listened to him speak. He is an excellent choice for this job. CNN, to be technically correct he is an American of African decent, just like Obumbo.

    May 23, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Jim

    The fact that CNN does not identify the race of Lori Garver is provocative.
    Charles Bolden is highly qualified and we should rather be proud of such an appointment. That he happens to be an African-American is really secondary.

    The United States of America is a wonderful Nation...

    May 23, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. CJ

    A decisive appointment, President Obama!

    May 23, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. Avi Shlomo

    Great appointment Mr Obama. about time we have experise over politics. Please continue to bring people whi can solve problems not ones who caused probkem and become a problem!!

    May 23, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Ravi

    Why are people so bothered by having an African American nominated? Perhaps you should be reminded that it is Black people who BUILT the United States into the great country that we are today. Learn to show some respect, haters.

    May 23, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Cheryl Tx

    @Anonymous May 23rd, 2009 10:00 am ET
    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 ?No you are being Prejudice .......President Bush Appointed African-Americans .....It is called qualified .....Now shut your Racist PIE HOLE!!!!
    ****CNN puts too much focus on the Race of a person and not their qualifications****

    May 23, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. TheLearnedHand

    Who cares if he's African-American? All that matters is that NASA, an important and long neglected part of our government finally has a qualified administrator. I hope General Bolden can lead NASA and America back to the Moon and beyond!

    May 23, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. Mary

    So Bush appointed 'ole boy frat friends to posts and well that was ok.

    May 23, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. buckwheat

    I don't know who came up with the figure of 13 percent. Must not have been out and about much in the right places. Someone put him in office and sure as hell took more than 13 percent unless someone voted 50 or 60 times as was reported by ACORN.s antics.

    May 23, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. Mike in NYC

    Putting a black face on an enterprise powered almost exclusively by White scientific and technology expertise (the remainder coming from Asians), with moonstruck libs already "oohing" and "aahing" over how the bro' is gonna take us to the stars.

    May 23, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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