Charles F. Bolden, Jr. (Brig. General,
USMC) NASA Astronaut (former)
Source: Johnson Space
Commandant, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
- PERSONAL DATA:
Born August 19, 1946,
in Columbia South Carolina. Married to the former Alexis
(Jackie) Walker of Columbia, South Carolina. They have
two children. He enjoys racquetball, running and soccer
His mother, Mrs. Ethel M. Bolden, resides in Columbia.
Graduated from C. A.
Johnson High School in Columbia, South Carolina, in
1964; received a bachelor of science degree in
electrical science from the United States Naval Academy
in 1968, and a master of science in systems management
from the University of Southern California in 1977.
Member of the Montford Point Marine Association, the United
Stated Naval Institute, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Lifetime member of the Naval Academy
Alumni Association, the University of Southern California General Alumni Association.
Recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Defense
Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the
Strike/Flight Medal (8th award), Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the
University of South Carolina (1984), Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Winthrop
College (1986), the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (1992), NASA Exceptional Service
Medals 91988, 1989, 1991), the University of Southern California Alumni Award of Merit
(1989), and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Johnson C. Smith University (1990).
Bolden accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the
U.S. Marine Corps following graduation from the United States Naval Academy in 1968. He
underwent flight training at Pensacola, Florida, Meridian, Mississippi, and Kingsville,
Texas before being designated a naval aviator in May 1970. He flew more than 100 sorties
into North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, in the A-6A Intruder while assigned to
VMA (AW)-533 at Nam Phong, Thailand, June 1972 to June 1973. Upon returning to the United
States, Bolden began a two-year tour as a Marine Corp selection officer and recruiting
officer in Los Angeles, California, followed by three years in various assignments at the
Marine Corp Air Station El Toro, California. In June 1979, he graduated from the U.S.
Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland, and was assigned to the Naval Air
Test Centers Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates. While there,
he served as an ordnance test pilot and flew numerous test projects in the A-6E, EA-6B,
and A-7C/E airplanes.
He has logged more than 6,000 hours flying time,
Selected by NASA in May 1980, Bolden became an astronaut in
August 1981. His technical assignments included: Astronaut Office Safety Officer;
Technical Assistant to the Director of Flight Crew Operations; Special Assistant to the
Director of the Johnson Space Center; Astronaut Office Liaison to the Safety, Reliability
and Quality Assurance Directorates of the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Kennedy
Space Center; Chief of the Safety Division at JSC; Lead Astronaut for Vehicle Test and
Checkout at the Kennedy Space Center; and Assistant Deputy Administrator, NASA
Headquarters. A veteran of four space flights, he has logged over 680 hours in space.
Bolden served as pilot on STS-61C (January 12-18, 1986) and STS-31 (April 24-29, 1990),
and was the mission commander on STS-45 (March 24-April 2, 1992), and STS-60 (Feb. 3-11,
Bolden left NASA and returned to active duty in the U.S.
Marine Corps as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, Annapolis,
Maryland, effective June 27, 1994.
Brig. General Bolden is the Assistant Wing Commander, HQ 3rd
MAW Miramar, San Diego, California. Space Flight Experience: STS-61C Shuttle Columbia. During
the six-day flight crew member deployed the SATCOM KU satellite and conducted experiments
in astrophysics and materials processing. STS-61C launched from the Kennedy Space Center,
Florida, on January 12. The mission was accomplished in 96 orbits of Earth, ending with a
successful night landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on January 18, 1986.
STS-31 Space Shuttle Discovery. Launched on April 24, 1990,
from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the five-day mission, crew members
deployed the Hubble Space Telescope and conducted a variety of middeck experiments. They
also used a variety of cameras, including both the IMAX in cabin and cargo bay cameras,
for earth observations from their record-setting altitude over 400 miles. Following 75
orbits of Earth in 121 hours, STS-31 Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base,
California, on April 29, 1990.
On STS-45 Bolden commanded a crew of seven aboard Space
Shuttle Atlantis. Launched on March 24 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-45
was the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASAs Mission to Planet Earth. During
the nine-day mission, the crew operated the twelve experiments that constituted the
ATLAS-1 (Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science) cargo. ATLAS-l obtained a
vast array of our climate and atmosphere. In addition, this was the first time an
artificial beam of electrons was used to stimulate a man-made auroral discharge. Following
143 orbits of Earth, STS-45 Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April
On STS-60 he commanded a crew of six aboard Space Shuttle
Discovery. This was the historic first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission involving
the participation of a Russian Cosmonaut as a mission specialist crew member. The flight
launched on February 3, 1994, from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and carried the
Space Habitation Module-2 science activities. The mission achieved 130 orbits of the
Earth, ending with a landing on February 11, 1994, at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Charles F. Bolden, Jr., NASA Administrator (July 17, 2009 - present)
Charles Bolden, twelfth Administrator of NASA.
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 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 the 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, which featured a cosmonaut as a member of his crew. Prior to Bolden's nomination for the NASA Administrator's job, he was employed as the Chief Executive Officer of JACKandPANTHER LLC, a small business enterprise providing leadership, military and aerospace consulting, and motivational speaking.
A resident of Houston, Bolden was born Aug. 19, 1946, in Columbia, S.C. He graduated from C. A. Johnson High School in 1964 and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Bolden earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical science in 1968 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. After completing flight training in 1970, he became a naval aviator. Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions in North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, while stationed in Namphong, Thailand, from 1972-1973.
After returning to the U.S., Bolden served in a variety of positions in the Marine Corps in California and earned a master of science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. Following graduation, he was assigned to the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md., and completed his training in 1979. While working at the Naval Air Test Center's Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates, he tested a variety of ground attack aircraft until his selection as an astronaut candidate in 1980.
Bolden's NASA astronaut career included 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. After his final space shuttle flight in 1994, he left the agency to return to active duty the operating forces in the Marine Corps as the Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Bolden was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in the Pacific in 1997. During the first half of 1998, he served as Commanding General of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. Bolden was promoted to his final rank of major general in July 1998 and named Deputy Commander of U.S. Forces in Japan. He later served as the Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., from 2000 until 2002, before retiring from the Marine Corps in 2003. Bolden's many military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006.
Bolden is married to the former Alexis (Jackie) Walker of Columbia, S.C. The couple has two children: Anthony Che, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps who is married to the former Penelope McDougal of Sydney, Australia, and Kelly Michelle, a medical doctor now serving a fellowship in plastic surgery.
General Bolden is
also featured in the
Marines section of
this web site.
to learn more.