Tag: NASA Administrator

Former NASA Administrator and Astronaut Charles Bolden to Receive 2017 Nierenberg Prize at UC San Diego

Charles Bolden, Former NASA Administrator and Astronaut (Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls via ucsdnews.ucsd.edu)

by Brittany Hook via ucsdnews.ucsd.edu

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General and former NASA Administrator Charles Frank Bolden Jr. has been selected as recipient of the 2017 Nierenberg Prize.

While many young people dream of becoming a NASA astronaut and exploring space, only a select few actually make this dream a reality. Some seemingly “fall into” this remarkable career path. One of those people is retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General and former NASA Administrator Charles Frank Bolden Jr., who spent 34 years serving in the Marine Corps and 14 years as a NASA astronaut (1980-1994), logging more than 680 hours in space during four space shuttle missions, twice as commander and twice as pilot.

In honor of his remarkable career and lifetime of service to science, his country, and the public, Bolden has been selected as recipient of the 2017 Nierenberg Prize by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. All are invited to attend the award ceremony and a presentation from Bolden in a free event on Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Robert Paine Scripps Forum for Science, Society and the Environment.

Bolden grew up in the segregated South and overcame great obstacles to become a transformative leader. He is the first African American to serve as NASA Administrator, a position he held from July 2009 to January 2017 which was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. During his time at the helm, Bolden oversaw a new era of exploration with science activities including an unprecedented landing on Mars by the Curiosity rover, launch of a spacecraft to Jupiter, and continued progress toward the 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.

UC San Diego News sat down to chat with Bolden about his incredible journey, from his early days in science to space and beyond.

Q: What inspired you to get involved in science?

Charles Bolden: I always liked taking stuff apart and putting it back together, but I think I became seriously involved in seventh grade, in middle school when my seventh-grade science teacher Mr. J.P. Neal not only encouraged but almost mandated us to participate in science fairs in school. I fell in love with it and I never missed a science fair after that.

Q: Have you ever followed up with that teacher to let him know the impact he had on your life?

CB: I periodically see him when I get back home. And I frequently mention him and my seventh-grade math teacher Mr. King Benjamin Lindberg Jeffcoat in my talks when I discuss the people who inspired me and who were responsible for changing my life. Continue reading “Former NASA Administrator and Astronaut Charles Bolden to Receive 2017 Nierenberg Prize at UC San Diego”

BHM: Meet Charles Bolden Jr., Former Astronaut and NASA’s 1st Black Administrator

article by Tonya Pendleton via blackamericaweb.com

Charles Bolden Jr., NASA’s first Black administrator, was nominated for the post in 2009 by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate that same year. Bolden nearly saw his career take another course in the early ’60’s, but he used his connections and a bit of humility to aid his quest to enter the U.S. Naval Academy.

Born August 19, 1946 in Columbia, South Carolina, Bolden was a football player at C.A. Johnson High School. Bolden was determined to enter the Academy. When he found out that a vice president can nominate anyone to the Academy while the president can only nominate the children of military personnel, he wrote a letter to then V.P. Lyndon B. Johnson to request his nomination.

Bolden saw his dreams dashed in November of 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. With Johnson elevated to president, Bolden moved to request that his state representatives nominate him for the Academy. But the elected officials in South Carolina, including notoriously racist Sen. Strom Thurmond, didn’t endorse Bolden due to his race.

Bolden then contacted Johnson and reminded the sitting president of their earlier correspondence. Eventually, Bolden was nominated by Rep. William Dawson of Chicago and he entered the Academy in 1964. After earning his degree in Electrical Science in 1968, he became an aviator with the U.S. Marine Corps and flew over 100 missions.

The Omega Psi Phi fraternity member earned his master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California in 1977. Two years later, Bolden completed courses at the United States Naval Test Pilot School and was selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in 1980. In 1981, Bolden’s astronaut appointment was official and he flew four space missions between 1986 and 1994.

To read more, go to: http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/02/17/little-known-black-history-fact-charles-bolden-jr/