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. Dee, NJ

    Congratiion Gen Bolden! I'm Black, USAF (Ret), and the Grandpop with 4. My Mom and Dad, 1920-1990, told us "They will fight us, BUT YOU WILL WIN! 1. God, 2. School work, 3. Have respest u will get respest"

    May 23, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  2. Don

    Congratulations to an EXTREMELY talented man to head up NASA!!!

    May 23, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Doc

    Since it appears that humans originated in Africa, would that not make us ALL African-Americans?

    May 23, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. buckwheat

    Racism is kept alive by CNN , The Rainbow Coalition and the ACLU because that is what butters their bread. Jesse Jackson has made a good living preaching hate. I give Obama credit for keeping him an Al Sharpton quite while he was on the stump promising all those checks. The silence was golden while it lasted.The only thing more silent is ACORN and all the millions of dollars it is getting from the taxpayers.

    May 23, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. elana

    As usual, President Obama is ALWAYS using his INTELLIGENCE in choosing the very best people to serve in various posts. NASA has many talented individuals who have been dedicated to the continuation of this excellent program. When we see the astronauts in space, see their own INTELLIGENCE at work, and look at AWE at the Universe calmly observing the accomplishments of these rare men and women, we know the money spent thru the years has been and will continue to be well worth the effort.

    May 23, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  6. buckwheat

    Who is going up in space and clean up the mess we have left up there?

    May 23, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. Claudia in Houson

    Regardless of what ones background may be, this is an example of how with education and dedication to hard work you too can excell. You don't have to be a gang banger, a drug dealer or chose to hate, your opportunity is at your fingertips, just do it.

    May 23, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. celmo

    For those of you who are sleep.....the year is 2009, we are moving forward as a nation. Lets face and accept this reality. General Bolden's record speaks for itself....Isn't this what the American dream is all about? Of course some people will have a problem with you regardless of what you do.....on welfare or CEO of a Major Corporation. Hopefully the percentage of those narrow minded ind ividuals is slowly can be a conservative and still be open minded......God Bless America!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Leslie

    Why CNN have to add color to their news? There is NO such thing as American-American, Mexican- American, Asian-American etc etc. EVERYBODY who were born in this country and naturalized are PLAIN American. Look at your US PASSPORT.

    For goodness sake CNN and other mainstream media out there, ENOUGH of thiS RACE-BAITING. Our country is in the TANK, our US dollar is HITTING A NOSE DIVE! And you're more concern about freaking race?!?! What's the people with you people!

    May 23, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. NVa Native

    What's up with all these nasty Repub leaning posts trashing a USMC General who served his country honorably?
    Sounds like the faux "Country First" crowd is showing their true colors again – fear, ignorance, arrogance, and hate.

    May 23, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Simmy

    I was sure I had placed a comment here........Anyway, wonderful to have this distinquished gentleman on the Obama team.....He is more than qualified.......I agree that the pointing out of 'race' when dealing with African Americans is becoming outdated.......Just report the news.....Once the public sees, the person, they'll know........As for the comment about African Americans not being from Africa, not true........To deny Africa would be to deny ancestry and legacy.........As a matter of fact, blacks aren't the color black, as whites aren't the color white........Indians are the only true natives of this country, and they are not the color red........One thing is for sure; we all have the same color blood.......Peace.....

    May 23, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Leslie


    Why CNN have to add color to their news? There is NO such thing as American-American, Mexican- American, Asian-American etc etc. EVERYBODY who were born in this country and naturalized are PLAIN American. Look at your US PASSPORT.

    For goodness sake CNN and other mainstream media out there, ENOUGH of thiS RACE-BAITING. Our country is in the TANK, our US dollar is HITTING A NOSE DIVE! And you're more concern about freaking race?!?! What's the matter with you people!? Are you that shallow you can't think further than freaking skin color? I am MORE WORRIED about OUR ECONOMY and VALUE of the US DOLLAR PLUNGING than Obama's appointment!!

    May 23, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    Race, schmace ... he's a general with four outer space missions under his belt. *Most* people don't have the stones to whine that President Obama is half African-American, so they throw a fit and fall in it every time he appoints an African-American to *anything*.

    I know it's a vain wish, but I WISH the Rethuglicriminals would grow (1) a BRAIN, and (2) a CONSCIENCE.

    May 23, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Patricia

    Your comment is awaiting moderation. ...LOL,,I know i will keep on waiting because theres no way you will post my last post..LOL

    May 23, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. markens from NY

    what is wrong with those european americans.

    May 23, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Perusing-Through

    An Astronaut to head up NASA. Now why didn't anyone think of that before. This President is good 🙂

    May 23, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Manny BLUM, Bernalillo

    As many of the women and minorities appointments make necessary to ask:

    Were they the best candidates ??

    Some were clearly so and should be applauded. But unfortunately, other were not, this being concerning and should be criticized. Obama, being from a minority, should be especially careful on this subject!! Affirmative action on this level shall not be an option, and would constitute a nation damaging discrimination.

    May 23, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. nick

    1 Report the news, don´t created it, tweak it, or give it your OPINION.
    2 Don´t state the obivious, it is clear by the photo that Mr. Bolton is a black man.
    3 CNN is one news organization that is keeping this racist thing going. Get over it, your audiance has.
    4 Keep John King and Ed Henry locked in a windowless room and away from important stories. OR ship them both over to Fox News.

    It is clear to most viewers that CNN is looking to challenge Fox News in the hopes of increasing the ratings... It won´t work. Go back to what you do best, True Honest Reporting.

    May 23, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. John S

    This article just spews out racism. Why must CNN report on a persons color. When any white person is chosen for a position by the president, does CNN state he is a person from the white race, asian or jewish.No. So why must you report it because a person is African American. Shame on you CNN for such racist publications. No wonder your news network is losing viewers every day with this trash. Someone at CNN needs to be fired for doing America an injustice. What a bunch of malarky your network is.

    May 23, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Perusing-Through

    In response to 'Anonymous' CNN posting. . . . Please read and study 'Matthews 7:3-5'. Once you have completed it, your eyes will open to your stupidity and hypocrisy. Note that most of Obama's postings are actually dominated by 'non-Blacks'. The only reason you noticed it is because YOU would never pick a Black no matter how great the qualifications, and the other reason you noticed it is because the media makes a big deal about a few more Blacks & Asians (still less than 15%) getting postings never considered by the previous 43 White Presidents.

    May 23, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |

    hawk in texas,

    you're kidding right? You do know that Condi Rice is black right?

    Some people (mostly democrats) lack even the smallest iota of common sense.

    If he's the most qualified person for the job then I think he should get it. if he happens to be black, so be it, but IF this is another example of affirmative action at work at the hands of Mr Obama or a "makeup" of how ever many years of poor race relations he is doing himself, his administration and the country a great disservice.

    May 23, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Lynn

    President Obama likes them just like him – brilliant, competent, and with a high level of integrity!

    Thank you Mr. President for this wonderful new selection!

    May 23, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Benny

    A harvard study shows that for an African-American to get to a managerial position, he/she has to be five times better than his white counterpart for the same position. By this study, I suggest that Mr. Bolden is very qualified for job.

    May 23, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. dot_array

    who cares. can't build a car . pipe a waterway from the ocean. & mathamatically challenged.

    May 23, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Gary

    Sounds like an experienced and very qualified choice, I wish him all of the best. Good job President Obama.

    I can't help but wonder if it is finally time to rethink the widespread affirmative action policies we have in place. Now we have had very qualified african americans as President, Supreme Court Justices, Secretary of States, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security advisors, Senators, Congressman, Governors, Mayors, CEOs, entrapreneurs, talk show hosts, military officers, singers, athletes, doctors, lawyers, school teachers and police officers. Affirmative action was always supposed to be a temporary policy to bring fairness and equal opportunity to the country. Are we there yet?

    May 23, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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