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Obama Nominates Former Astronaut Bolden for NASA Chief

Three Pilots to Join Astronaut Hall of Fame
2006 Astronaut Hall of Fame inductees Charles Bolden, Hank Hartsfield and Brewster Shaw pose together at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Image
(Image: © KSCVC/ASF)

WASHINGTON -Ending months of speculation, the White House announced early Saturday thatU.S. President Barack Obama intends to nominate former space shuttle astronautCharles Bolden to become NASA administrator.

LoriGarver, a Washington-based aerospace consultant and former NASA official whoadvised the Obama campaign on space matters, was named Bolden's deputy. Bothposts require Senate confirmation.

Bolden, a retiredU.S. Marine Corps major general, met with Obama atthe White House on May 19 to discuss the job.

NASA'sdeputy assistant administrator for public affairs, Bob Jacobs, used the microbloggingservice Twitter to spreadthe word about the announcement.

"WH[White House] just announced intent to nominate Bolden as NASA Administratorand Garver as Deputy Administrator. More details coming," Jacobs wrote onhis Twitter page around 8:45 a.m. EDT (1245 GMT) today , just a few minutesafter NASA Mission Control decided to postpone space shuttle Atlantis' landinganother day to because of poor weather at Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

The sevenastronauts aboard Atlantis are now slated to landSunday to end a 13-day mission to overhaul the Hubble Space Telescope forthe fifth and final time.

MissionControl radioed the news of Bolden?s nomination to Atlantis commander ScottAltman so he could alert his crew.

?Roger,thanks for the news on the announcement,? Altman said. ?I guess it wasn?t anyof us up here on the flight after all.?

Altman andhis crew spoke with Obama on Wednesday during a private call that was lateraired on NASA TV.

?We're soongoing to have a new NASA Administrator,? Obama said during the call. ?I can'tdisclose it to you, because I've got to have hoopla on the announcement backhere on Earth. But I can assure you that it's a high priority of mine torestore that sense of wonder that space can provide and to make sure that we'vegot a strong sense of mission, not just within NASA but for the country as awhole.?

Altmanthanked the President and said he hoped his crew?s mission to fixHubble for the last-ever time helped capture some of that senseof exploration. He also tried asked the president who his pick for NASA chiefmight be.

?Just so we're sure, the new administrator's not any of us on the flight deckright now, is it?,? Altman asked.

The presidentlaughed.

?You know,I'm not going to give you any hints,? Obama said.

SPACE.comsenior editor Tariq Malik contributed to this report from Cape Canaveral, Fla. SPACE.com is providing continuouscoverage of NASA's last mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Click here for landingcoverage, mission updates and SPACE.com's live NASA TV video feed.

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