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Bolden resurfaces in the NASA chief rumor mill

Charles F. Bolden, Jr., NASA, Barack ObamaFormer astronaut and decorated military man Charles Bolden is reportedly atop the list to head NASA, an agency nearing four months without an administrator. NBC and the Wall Street Journal report that Bolden, 62, will head to the White House Monday to meet with President Barack Obama and will likely be nominated to lead the space agency.

Bolden, who retired from military service in 2003 as a major general in the U.S. Marine Corps, would be the first African-American to run NASA.

Bolden piloted or commanded four space shuttle missions between 1986 and 1994, including the 1990 Discovery mission that put the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit. Hubble is currently undergoing its final scheduled tune-up at the hands of astronauts on board space shuttle Atlantis.

As Inauguration Day loomed in January, Bolden’s name first popped up. But other potential candidates arose as well, and there has been little public movement toward finding an administrator for the agency since Obama took office. Associate administrator Christopher Scolese has been acting as interim agency chief following the resignation of Michael Griffin, a Bush appointee, in January.

Bolden's astronaut portrait courtesy of NASA

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