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.