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May. 15 2009 - 1:35 pm | 5 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

NASA’s next administrator ready to launch: Charles Bolden

Col CharlesBolden USMC

Image by Judge Rock via Flickr

The stories you read about Charlie Bolden getting the nod as the next NASA Administrator have a good deal of truthiness to them. He is apparently teed up for the nation’s premier space management gig, but that said, I am told he has not yet been officially been offered the job.

His name has been a stubborn occupant in the hopper of candidates for a lot of good reasons, African American born in the segregated south who makes it to Annapolis, the Marines, fighters, test piloting and eventually space shuttling. He was the commander of the mission before Challenger’s last – carrying a young congressman from Florida by the name of Bill Nelson to space and back. Now Senator Nelson has worked tirelessly to lobby for his Commander. Bolden also happens to be a great guy who doesn’t just have the right stuff – he knows his stuff.

So why did this take so long? Two issues: there is some concern that a former astronaut should not occupy the corner office on the 9th floor at NASA HQ – that they would focus too much on the white scarf squad – and not enough on NASA’s chronically needy, yet scientifically significant robotic missions. And there is also the lobbying: Bolden has lobbied for the rocket builder ATK.

Apparently the White House is now over both issues – and soon Charlie Bolden will put “Code A” (NASA parlance for the Administrator) on his already storied resume.

As for who will be his deputy; the winner is Lori Garver – who has run the Obama transition at NASA. She is a former NASA deputy
administrator – and once tried a quixotic campaign to fly in space (“put a mom in tennis shoes in orbit” as I recall).

So now can we get on with the post shuttle plan already? The Space Cadet Nation should feel em-Boldened at this news.


2 Total Comments
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    Bolden as NASA’s Administrator is a great pick. Traditionally, the Deputy Administrator has been drawn from the technical ranks–think Hugh Dryden. Garver is the opposite end of that. I’m not sure what she brings to the that Bolden doesn’t already have?

    Given her head butting with Senator Nelson, I’d be surprised if she makes it to the number 2 spot. I mean, you are aware of some of the junk being fed to people about Nelson being irrelevant, the WH not listening to him, etc. that came from those camping out on the 9th Floor.

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    About Me

    I am a 26-year broadcast news veteran - with nearly 17 years as CNN’s science, aerospace, technology and environment correspondent. I am an active pilot, airplane owner and a lover of all things that fly. I was slated to be the first journalist to fly on the space shuttle before the Columbia accident ended that dream. I am based in New York City - married with two teenagers and two dogs.

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