The nation’s turbulent space program will be run by one of its own, a calming, well-liked former space shuttle commander.
President Obama chose retired astronaut General Charles Bolden to lead NASA. He also named former NASA associate administrator Lori Garver as the agency’s number two.
If confirmed, Bolden, who has flown in space four times and was assistant deputy administrator, would be the agency’s first black administrator.
Bolden would also be only the second astronaut to run the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in its 50-year history. Admiral Richard Truly was the first. In 2002, then-President George W. Bush unsuccessfully tried to appoint Bolden as the space agency’s deputy administrator. The Pentagon said it needed to keep Bolden, who was a Marine general at the time and a pilot who flew more than 100 sorties in Vietnam.
Bolden is likely to bring “more balance” to NASA, increasing spending on aeronautics and environment missions, working more with other nations in space, and emphasizing education, which the president often talks about when it comes to space, said George Abbey, former director of Johnson Space Center and a longtime friend.
“NASA has been looking for a leader like this that they could have confidence in,” Abbey said.