Nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., began his duties as the twelfth Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on July 17, 2009. As Administrator, he leads the NASA team and manages its resources to advance the agency's missions and goals. Bolden's confirmation marks the beginning of his second stint with our nation's space agency. His 34-year career with the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA's Astronaut Office. After joining the office in 1980, he traveled to orbit four times aboard the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions. His flights included deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope and the first joint U.S.-Russian shuttle mission. Prior to Bolden's nomination as NASA Administrator, he was the CEO of a small business enterprise providing leadership, military and aerospace consulting, and motivational speaking.
I admire people who dramatically alter our understanding of what we can accomplish – inventors such as Thomas Edison, Dean Kamen, and Steve Jobs – innovators who pioneered space like Robert Goddard, Werner von Braun, Alan Shepard and John Glenn, and those who gave their lives like Dr. Ron McNair and the crews of Challenger, Columbia and Apollo 1 showed us how much is at stake when we push the levels of human achievement. People who innovate while also overcoming prejudice have been especially inspiring. George Carruthers, an African American NASA engineer, for instance, invented a device to capture an ultraviolet image of Halley's Comet. In 1991, he invented a camera that was used from space on a shuttle mission. There’s also my personal friend, Joe Fuller, who demonstrated an ability to thrive in the 1960’s in a culture that did not accept African Americans in senior positions and he played a central role at JSC during Gemini and Apollo, moved to GSFC to lead the weather satellites, and started Futron Inc. that helps NASA, industry, and other government agencies.
The tilt rotor XV-15 designed and initially demonstrated through a collaboration of Bell Helicopter and NASA Ames Research Center, pushed a technology that has become one of the most potent and capable components of our U.S. military inventory as the MV-22, Osprey. The “tiger tooth” shaped Chevron nozzles on today’s Boeing 787 engine are a NASA invention that have brought fantastic gains in noise abatement. The space shuttle is one of the most amazing and complex machines ever built. It had more than 2.5 million parts, including about 170 miles of wire and more than 24,000 insulating tiles and thermal blankets. The shuttle made it possible for us to assemble what I consider to be the most incredible technological achievement of our time, the International Space Station, and it was through the shuttle’s ability to carry very large cargo to space that we were able to deliver inventions like the Hubble Space Telescope to Earth orbit to achieve their potential and pave the way for us to live and work in space over the long term and discover mysteries of our universe never before believed possible.
Why Do You Think Math & Science are so AWESOME
The mastery of math and science studies holds the keys to our ability to understand the universe and many of its previously mysterious phenomena. Fundamental understanding of math and science enables us to reach higher and shoot for the pinnacle of human potential. This knowledge helps us add up the grocery bill and keep our cars running efficiently. In short, math and science are the gears running all the forces that affect our lives. They're the cause and effect behind everything and, it's our nature to want to sort all of that mysterious stuff out and fulfill our natural desires to explore our world and help understand our place in the universe.