NASA's New Head

Former Marine Charles Bolden, Jr takes charge at a tricky time for the space agency

Major General Charles Bolden, Jr.

Meet your new head of NASAcourtesy of NASA

Since January 20th, NASA has been flying without a pilot. Now, President Obama has appointed former Marine General and Space Shuttle pilot Charles Bolden, Jr. to grab the rudder and take right the craft.

Bolden inherits a tough job. With the impending end of the Space Shuttle program, no successor space craft available for a number of years, budget constraints, a debate over the future of manned flights to the moon and Mars, and a general apathy in the public about space flight, Bolden may be in for a rocky ride to rival his trips over Vietnam and into space.

Bolden, a former Marine aviator and the first African-American shuttle pilot, flew the space shuttle on four missions, including the flight that released the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit.

ABC News, Nature News and The New York Times all have the story, with ABC providing the most biographical information, The New York Times highlighting the troubles Bolden now faces, and Nature News noting that Bolden is a proponent of manned space flight.