Jan 14, 2009 | 2
Retired Air Force major general Scott Gration has been asked to head NASA under President-elect Barack Obama, Space News and AFP are reporting. The news agencies each cite an unnamed source in pointing to Gration, an early Obama supporter who stumped for the candidate and gave military cred to the campaign.
Gration, who retired from the Air Force in 2006, voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election, according to a 2007 Newsweek profile of him. He was reportedly won over by Sen. Obama during a 2006 congressional delegation to Africa; Gration was raised by missionary parents in the Congo. His stature in the campaign became such that he was selected to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August, where he touted Obama's leadership qualities.
Jan 7, 2009
News outlets are reporting that former NASA astronaut Charles Bolden is among top candidates to head the space agency under President-elect Barack Obama. If tapped, Bolden, 62, would be the first African-American to serve as NASA administrator.
As an astronaut from 1980 to 1994, Bolden flew into space four times, piloting two shuttle missions and commanding two more, according to his official NASA bio. He left the agency to return to the military, having previously served in Vietnam and as a naval test pilot, and rose to the rank of major general in the U.S. Marine Corps before retiring in 2003. In 2002, Bolden was nominated to serve as NASA's deputy administrator, but the White House withdrew his name after, the Houston Chronicle reports, "the Pentagon objected to civilian agencies drafting high-ranking officers during wartime." At the time, the U.S. was at war in Afghanistan.
Dec 12, 2008 | 7
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin yesterday denied a newspaper report that he had stonewalled members of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team seeking info on operations at his agency. The Orlando Sentinel, quoting anonymous sources, reported Wednesday that Griffin had failed to cooperate with Obama aides and had instructed civilian space contractors to support the agency's current direction and refrain from discussing other options when contacted by the transition team. Griffin in a written statement said that he was "appalled by any accusations of intimidation" and that he encourages "a free and open exchange of information with the contractor community."
At issue is the future of the planned upgrade to the space shuttle, the Constellation program, which Griffin has been shepherding toward its scheduled 2015 debut. The problem is that the space shuttle is due to be retired in 2010, leaving at least a five-year gap in the U.S.'s ability to independently send astronauts into space, a prospect that some lawmakers, including Republican Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (who represents Houston, a hub for the space industry), find unacceptable.
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