The Higher Education of the New NASA Director

President Obama has nominated Charles F. Bolden Jr. as the next director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Bolden will be the first African American to lead the nation’s space agency.

Bolden is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. He is a 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a degree in electrical science. After graduation he became a Marine Corps officer and underwent flight training. He flew more than 100 missions during the Vietnam war. After the war he served as a test pilot and earned a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California.

Bolden became an astronaut in 1981. He flew on four space shuttle missions from 1986 to 1994, including one that launched the Hubble space telescope. After leaving NASA in 1994 he returned to active duty in the Marine Corps as deputy commander of midshipmen at the Naval Academy. In 1998 he was promoted to the rank of major general and retired from the Corps in 2004.