Bolden Confirmed As New NASA Administrator
Charles Bolden, nominee for Administrator of NASA, testifies at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 8, 2009. Lori Garver, nomine for debuty NASA chief, is in foreground.
Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday as the twelfth administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Lori Beth Garver was confirmed as NASA's deputy administrator.

"It is an honor to have been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate to lead this great NASA team," Bolden said. "Today, we have to choose. Either we can invest in building on our hard-earned world technological leadership or we can abandon this commitment, ceding it to other nations who are working diligently to push the frontiers of space."

"If we choose to lead, we must build on our investment in the International Space Station, accelerate development of our next generation launch systems to enable expansion of human exploration, enhance NASA's capability to study Earth's environment, lead space science to new achievements, continue cutting-edge aeronautics research, support the innovation of American entrepreneurs, and inspire a rising generation of boys and girls to seek careers in science, technology, engineering and math."

Bolden's confirmation marks the beginning of his second stint with NASA. 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, which featured a cosmonaut as a member of his crew.

During his astronaut career, Bolden also drew technical assignments as the Astronaut Office safety officer; technical assistant to the director of Flight Crew Operations; special assistant to the director of the Johnson Space Center; chief of the Safety Division at Johnson (overseeing safety efforts for the return to flight after the 1986 Challenger accident); lead astronaut for vehicle test and checkout at the Kennedy Space Center; and assistant deputy administrator at NASA Headquarters. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.

Immediately prior to Bolden's nomination for the NASA administrator's job, the 62-year-old South Carolina native was employed as the chief executive officer of JACKandPANTHER LLC, a small business enterprise providing leadership, military and aerospace consulting, and motivational speaking.

Like Bolden, Garver's confirmation as deputy administrator marks the second time she has worked for NASA. Her first stint at the agency was from 1996 to 2001. Initially, she served as a special assistant to the NASA administrator and senior policy analyst for the Office of Policy and Plans, before becoming the associate administrator for the Office of Policy and Plans.

A 48-year-old Michigan native, Garver earned a bachelor's degree in political science and economics from Colorado College in 1983. Her focus immediately turned to space when she accepted a job working for Sen. John Glenn from 1983 to 1984.

"I am very excited about the opportunity to serve under Charlie Bolden's leadership," Garver said. "My previous five years at NASA exposed me to the incredible talent of the workforce there. The unbelievable achievements of this team over its 50-year history are unmatched. I look forward to working with Charlie and the NASA team to make our agency work as effectively as it can for the American people."