On May 23, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Bolden as NASA administrator and Lori Garver as deputy NASA administrator. Bolden was confirmed by the Senate on July 15, 2009. He was the first African American to head the agency on a permanent basis.
On January 12, 2017, Bolden announced his resignation from NASA during a town hall meeting at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. His last day would be January 19, and Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. was announced as acting NASA Administrator.
|12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration|
July 17, 2009 – January 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Michael D. Griffin|
|Succeeded by||Jim Bridenstine|
Charles Frank Bolden Jr.
August 19, 1946
Columbia, South Carolina
|Branch||U.S. Marine Corps|
Bolden in October 1991
Time in space
|28d 08h 37m|
|Selection||Astronaut Group 9|
Bolden graduated from C. A. Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1964. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Science from the United States Naval Academy in 1968, where he was a contemporary of future Marine officers Oliver North, Jim Webb and Michael Hagee and future Chief of Naval Operations Michael Mullen, and later earned a Master of Science degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1977. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
In high school, Bolden says that because he is black, he was turned down for an appointment to the United States Naval Academy by South Carolina's delegation in Congress, including Senator Strom Thurmond, at the time a segregationist. Bolden received his appointment with the help of initiatives by President Johnson and William L. Dawson, a U.S. representative from Chicago, Illinois, and would receive letters of congratulations from Thurmond at various career milestones. Bolden was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps following graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1968. He was president of his class. He underwent flight training at Pensacola, Florida, Meridian, Mississippi, and Kingsville, Texas, before being designated a Naval Aviator in May 1970.
He flew more than 100 sorties into North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the A-6A Intruder while assigned to VMA(AW)-533 at Royal Thai Air Base Nam Phong, Thailand, from June 1972 to June 1973.
Upon returning to the United States, Bolden began a two-year tour as a Marine Corps officer selection and recruiting officer in Los Angeles, California, followed by three years in various assignments at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California.
In June 1979, he graduated from the United States Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland and was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center's Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates. While there, he served as an ordnance test pilot and flew numerous test projects in the A-6E, EA-6B, and A-7C/E airplanes. He logged more than 6,000 hours flying time.
Bolden was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1980. He was a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps until 1994 when he returned to assignments in the Marine Corps, first as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, effective June 27, 1994. In July 1997, he was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of I Marine Expeditionary Force. From February to June 1998, he served as Commanding General, I MEF (Forward) in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. In July 1998, he was promoted to his final rank of major general and assumed his duties as the Deputy Commander, United States Forces Japan. He then served as the Commanding General, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, from August 9, 2000, until August 2002. He retired from the military in August 2004.
Selected by NASA in May 1980, Bolden became an astronaut in August 1981. His technical assignments included: Astronaut Office Safety Officer; Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations; Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center; Astronaut Office Liaison to the Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance Directorates of the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Kennedy Space Center; Chief of the Safety Division at JSC; Lead Astronaut for Vehicle Test and Checkout at the Kennedy Space Center; and Assistant Deputy Administrator, NASA Headquarters.
A veteran of four space flights, he has logged over 680 hours in space. Bolden served as pilot on STS-61-C (January 12–18, 1986) and STS-31 (April 24–29, 1990), and was the mission commander on STS-45 (March 24 – April 2, 1992), and STS-60 (February 3–11, 1994).
Bolden was the first person to ride the Launch Complex 39 slidewire baskets which enable rapid escape from a Space Shuttle on the launch pad. The need for a human test was determined following a launch abort on STS-41-D where controllers were afraid to order the crew to use the untested escape system.
A few years before his appointment by President Barack Obama to be administrator of NASA, Bolden auditioned, along with professional actors, for the role of virtual host for NASA's "Shuttle Launch Experience" educational attraction at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Merritt Island, Florida.
On January 12, 2017, Bolden announced his resignation from NASA during a Town Hall meeting at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. His last day would be January 19, and Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. was announced as acting NASA Administrator.
On STS-61-C, Bolden piloted Space Shuttle Columbia. During the six-day flight, crew members deployed the SATCOM Ku band satellite and conducted experiments in astrophysics and materials processing. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center on January 12, 1986, orbited the Earth 96 times, and ended with a successful night landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California on January 18, 1986.
Bolden piloted Space Shuttle Discovery during STS-31. Launched on April 24, 1990, from Kennedy Space Center, the crew spent the five-day mission deploying the Hubble Space Telescope and conducting a variety of mid-deck experiments. They also used a variety of cameras, including both the IMAX in cabin and cargo bay cameras, for Earth observations from their record-setting altitude of over 400 miles. Following 75 orbits of Earth in 121 hours, Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base on April 29, 1990.
On STS-45, Bolden commanded a crew of seven aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis, launched on March 24, 1992, from Kennedy Space Center. STS-45 was the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASA's "Mission to Planet Earth". During the nine-day mission, the crew operated the twelve experiments that constituted the ATLAS-1 (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science) cargo. ATLAS-1 obtained detailed measurements of atmospheric chemical and physical properties. In addition, this was the first time an artificial beam of electrons was used to stimulate an auroral discharge. Following 143 orbits of Earth, Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center on April 2, 1992.
Bolden commanded STS-60's crew of six aboard Discovery. This was the historic first joint-American–Russian Space Shuttle mission involving the participation of a Russian cosmonaut, Sergei Krikalev, as a Mission Specialist. The flight launched on February 3, 1994, from Kennedy Space Center, and carried the Space Habitation Module-2 (SPACEHAB), and the Wake Shield Facility. The crew conducted a series of joint American/Russian science activities. The mission achieved 130 orbits of the Earth, ending with a landing on February 11, 1994, at the Kennedy Space Center.
In 2009, President Obama appointed Bolden to be administrator of NASA.
On the same day, at a question and answer session with employees at the Johnson Space Center, Bolden compared the Constellation Program to a stillborn baby calf extracted from a camel's womb by U.S. Marines. Bolden said, "We’ve got some stillborn calves around, and we have got to figure out ways to help each other bring them back to life."
In a June 2010 interview with Al Jazeera, Bolden said that the top three goals he was tasked with by President Obama were to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, to expand NASA's international relationships, and, "perhaps foremost", "to reach out to the Muslim world ... to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science... and math and engineering".
On August 28, 2012, he was the first human being to have his voice broadcast on the surface of Mars. Although the rover has no speakers, it received the transmission of his voice and then beamed it back to Earth.
"You know, the universe is a big place. I'm a practicing Christian, so in my faith, I learn about omnipotent, omnipresent God, which means he's everywhere. He's all-knowing. He does everything. And I just cannot bring my little pea brain to believe that a God like that would pick one planet of one of millions of suns and say that's the only place in the vast universe that I'm going to put any kind of life. And so the problem is I haven't been far enough away."
|Navy Astronaut Badge|
|Defense Distinguished Service Medal||Defense Superior Service Medal||Legion of Merit|
w/ 1 award star
|Distinguished Flying Cross||Defense Meritorious Service Medal
w/ 1 oak leaf cluster
w/ 1 award star & Strike/Flight numeral 8
|Navy Unit Commendation|
|NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal||NASA Exceptional Service Medal
w/ 2 award stars
|NASA Space Flight Medal
w/ 3 award stars
|National Defense Service Medal|
w/ 1 service star
|Vietnam Service Medal
w/ 2 service stars
|Marine Corps Recruiting Ribbon||Vietnam Gallantry Cross
Unit Citation with Palm
|Vietnam Campaign Medal|
| Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) is an American trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military, and business aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, space systems, aircraft engines, missiles, material, and related components, equipment, services, and information technology in the United States. It also co-sponsors, with the National Association of Rocketry, the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), an annual competition for high school students. Member companies also give awards and scholarships to top placing teams at the TARC national finals each year and it is funded through sponsoring companies. AIA also develops the manufacturing standards called National Aerospace Standards which are available to aerospace manufacturers that conform to United States Military Standard's for equipment manufacturing and provide standards for other various components.
The organizations's current president and CEO is Eric Fanning.Christopher Scolese
Christopher J. Scolese is director of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He was named to the position effective March 5, 2012. On February 7, 2019, President Donald Trump nominated Scolese to head the National Reconnaissance Office.Ellen Stofan
Ellen Renee Stofan (born February 24, 1961) is the former Chief Scientist of NASA and served as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency's science programs, planning and investments. She resigned from NASA in December 2016. Previously, she served as vice president of Proxemy Research in Laytonsville, Maryland, and as an honorary professor in the Earth sciences department at the University College London. She is currently the Director of the National Air and Space Museum.Imran Garda
Imran Garda (born 7 August 1982) is a South African journalist, presenter and award-winning novelist. He is the host of The Newsmakers on TRT World. He was formerly the host of Third Rail on Al Jazeera America based in New York City. Imran was also a senior presenter and producer for AJ+, Al Jazeera Media Network's all digital video news channel based in San Francisco. Previously, he worked for Al Jazeera English in Doha, Qatar and Washington, DC. He also hosted the award-winning show The Stream.Jim Bridenstine
James Frederick Bridenstine (born June 15, 1975) is an American politician and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Bridenstine served as the United States Representative for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, based in Tulsa from January 3, 2013 to April 23, 2018. He is a member of the Republican Party.
On September 1, 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Bridenstine to be the Administrator of NASA; he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 19, 2018. Bridenstine has served on the Committee on Science, Space and Technology during his time in Congress. He is the first elected official to serve as NASA Administrator. His nomination was controversial, due to his lack of qualifications in science and his rejection at the time of the scientific consensus on climate change, a position which he has since reversed.List of African-American astronauts
African-American astronauts are people who have either traveled into space or been part of an astronaut program.List of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! episodes (2016)
The following is a list of episodes of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, NPR's news panel game, that aired during 2016. All episodes, unless otherwise indicated, are hosted by Peter Sagal with announcer/scorekeeper Bill Kurtis, and originated at Chicago's Chase Auditorium. Dates indicated are the episodes' original Saturday air dates. Job titles and backgrounds of the guests reflect their status at the time of their appearance.Lori Garver
Lori Beth Garver (born May 22, 1961 in Lansing, Michigan) is the former Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). She was nominated on May 24, 2009, by President Barack Obama, along with Charles Bolden as NASA Administrator. She was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on July 15, 2009. She left the position in September 2013 to become General Manager of the Air Line Pilots Association.Garver was the lead civil space policy advisor for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and led the agency review team for NASA during the post-election transition. She worked at NASA from 1996–2001, first as a special assistant to the NASA administrator and senior policy analyst for the Office of Policy and Plans, and then as the Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy and Plans.Mars Exploration Joint Initiative
The Mars Exploration Joint Initiative (MEJI) is an agreement signed between United States' space agency, NASA, and Europe's space agency, ESA to join resources and expertise in order to continue the exploration of the planet Mars. The agreement was signed in Washington D.C. in October 2009, between NASA administrator Charles Bolden and ESA director-general Jean-Jacques Dordain.In its hey-day it resulted in a synergy between NASA Mars Science Orbiter and the Aurora ExoMars program, the combination of a flexible collaborative proposal within NASA and ESA to send a new orbiter-carrier to Mars in 2016 as part of the European-led ExoMars project. One of the goals was for NASA to provide to Atlas V launches for ExoMars, however in the early 2010s planetary exploration in the USA was not given enough money to fund this plan.Under the FY2013 budget President Barack Obama released on 13 February 2012, NASA terminated its participation in ExoMars due to budgetary cuts in order to pay for the cost overruns of the James Webb Space Telescope. With NASA's funding for this project cancelled, most of ExoMars' plans had to be restructured.NASA Social
NASA has hosted many events for its social media enthusiasts called NASA Socials (formerly NASA Tweetups) beginning in 2009. These events are targeted at the social media followers of NASA through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, YouTube and more. They provide guests with VIP access to NASA facilities and speakers with the goal of leveraging participants' social networks to further the outreach requirements of NASA as laid out in the National Aeronautics and Space Act. NASA re-branded these events as "Socials" in March 2012 as it expanded participation to services beyond just Twitter.As of 2015, all NASA field centers and NASA Headquarters have hosted NASA Tweetup/Social events. There were 5 NASA Tweetups in 2009, 10 in 2010, 16 in 2011, 21 in 2012, 22 in 2013, and 23 in 2014. In August 2011, over 2,000 participants had been part of official NASA Tweetups. By July 2014, that number had swelled to over 6,000 total participants in over 5 years of NASA Social programs.Many NASA Social events are at least partially broadcast on NASA TV and UStream. NASA Socials are held at NASA centers, NASA Headquarters, observatories, engine test sites, museums such as the Newseum and National Air and Space Museum, and during larger events such as SXSW and World Space Week. The length of socials range from a few hours to a couple days to much longer in the case of some events, such as the STS-133 launch tweetup.Robert M. Lightfoot Jr.
Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. (born 1963) is an engineer and former Acting Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), serving from January 20, 2017 until April 23, 2018, making him the longest-serving Acting Administrator in NASA history. He is also the incumbent Associate Administrator of NASA. Succeeding Charles Bolden, Lightfoot became the space agency's acting Associate Administrator on March 5, 2012. That job became permanent on September 25, 2012. He had previously served as the eleventh Director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, from March 2009 until his promotion in March 2012. On March 12, 2018 he announced his retirement from NASA effective April 30, 2018.STS-135
STS-135 (ISS assembly flight ULF7) was the 135th and final mission of the American Space Shuttle program. It used the orbiter Atlantis and hardware originally processed for the STS-335 contingency mission, which was not flown. STS-135 launched on 8 July 2011, and landed on 21 July 2011, following a one-day mission extension. The four-person crew was the smallest of any shuttle mission since STS-6 in April 1983. The mission's primary cargo was the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Raffaello and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC), which were delivered to the International Space Station (ISS). The flight of Raffaello marked the only time that Atlantis carried an MPLM.Although the mission was authorized, it initially had no appropriation in the NASA budget, raising questions about whether the mission would fly. On 20 January 2011, program managers changed STS-335 to STS-135 on the flight manifest. This allowed for training and other mission specific preparations. On 13 February 2011, program managers told their workforce that STS-135 would fly regardless of the funding situation via a continuing resolution. Until this point, there had been no official references to the STS-135 mission in NASA documentation for the general public.During an address at the Marshall Space Flight Center on 16 November 2010, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said that the agency needed to fly STS-135 to the station in 2011 due to possible delays in the development of commercial rockets and spacecraft designed to transport cargo to the ISS. "We are hoping to fly a third shuttle mission (in addition to STS-133 and STS-134) in June 2011, what everybody calls the launch-on-need mission...and that's really needed to [buy down] the risk for the development time for commercial cargo," Bolden said.The mission was included in NASA's 2011 authorization, which was signed into law on 11 October 2010, but funding remained dependent on a subsequent appropriations bill. United Space Alliance signed a contract extension for the mission, along with STS-134; the contract contained six one-month options with NASA in order to support continuing operations.The federal budget approved in April 2011 called for $5.5 billion for NASA's space operations division, including the shuttle and space station programs. According to NASA, the budget running through 30 September 2011 ended all concerns about funding the STS-135 mission.STS-135 marked the final orbital launch and landing from US soil until the announcement of the planned SpX-DM2 mission to launch in July 2019. If the mission succeeds, it will mark the first time that astronauts have launched from American soil in eight-and-a-half years.STS-61-C
STS-61-C was the 24th mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the seventh mission of Space Shuttle Columbia. It was the first time that Columbia, the first space-rated Space Shuttle orbiter to be constructed, had flown since STS-9. The mission launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on 12 January 1986, and landed six days later on 18 January. STS-61-C's seven-person crew included the second African-American shuttle pilot, future NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, the first Costa Rican-born astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz, and the second sitting politician to fly in space, Representative Bill Nelson (D-FL). It was the last shuttle mission before the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, which occurred just ten days after STS-61-C's landing.Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment
The Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), later called the Space Amateur Radio Experiment, was a program that promoted and supported the use of amateur ("ham") radio by astronauts in low earth orbit aboard the United States Space Shuttle to communicate with other amateur radio stations around the world. It was superseded by the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. SAREX was sponsored by NASA, AMSAT (The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation), and the ARRL (American Radio Relay League).Steve MacLean (astronaut)
Steven Glenwood MacLean (born December 14, 1954) is a Canadian astronaut. He was the President of the Canadian Space Agency, from September 1, 2008 to February 1, 2013.He was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and is married to Nadine Wielgopolski of Hull, Quebec. They have three children. He enjoys hiking, canoeing, flying, parachuting and gymnastics. He currently resides in Saint-Lambert, Quebec.Team America Rocketry Challenge
The Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is an annual American model rocketry competition for students in grades six to 12 sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Association of Rocketry. Co-sponsors include NASA, United States Department of Defense, the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Civil Air Patrol.
The event receives local and national media coverage and usually draws well-known representatives of the Defense Department, NASA, the FAA, and other government agencies. Past National Fly-Offs have been attended by United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Rocket Boys author Homer Hickam, former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, and former NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden.The 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016 International Fly-Offs were won by the American winners of TARC.United States Naval Test Pilot School
The United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Patuxent River, Maryland, provides instruction to experienced United States Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and foreign military experimental test pilots, flight test engineers, and flight test flight officers in the processes and techniques of aircraft and systems testing and evaluation.Waleed Abdalati
Waleed Abdalati held the position of NASA Chief Scientist from 3 January 2011 through December 2012. Abdalati was named to this position on 13 December 2010 by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Abdalati previously served NASA as Head of Cryospheric Sciences at Goddard Space Flight Center between January 2004 and June 2008.Abdalati is the current director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.Woodrow Whitlow Jr.
Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. is the associate administrator for Mission Support at NASA. He was appointed to this position by NASA administrator Charles Bolden on February 3, 2010. Prior to this, he was director of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland Ohio.
Whitlow earned Bachelor of Science (1974), Master of Science (1975), and Doctor of Philosophy (1979) degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and began his professional career in 1979 as a research scientist at the NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, before moving on to positions at NASA Lewis (now Glenn) Research Center and NASA Kennedy Space Center, where he was deputy director before returning to NASA Glenn to serve as director. He has received numerous awards, including U.S. Black Engineer of the Year in Government, NASA Exceptional Service Honor Medal, NASA Equal Opportunity Honor Medal, the (British) Institution of Mechanical Engineers William Sweet Smith Prize and the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics named him an associate fellow in 1993 and a fellow in 2010.
|Acting Deputy Administrators|
|International Mission Specialists|