[Charles Bolden] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Charles F. Bolden, Jr. (Colonel, USMC)
NASA Astronaut

Born August 19, 1946, in Columbia, South Carolina. His mother, Ethel M. Bolden, resides in Columbia.

Black hair; brown eyes; 5 feet 7 inches; 155 pounds.

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.

Married to the former Alexis (Jackie) Walker of Columbia, South Carolina.

Anthony Che, June 9, 1971; Kelly M., March 17, 1976.

He enjoys racquetball, running, soccer, swimming, and first day cover collecting.

Member of the Marine Corps Association, the Montford Point Marine Association, the U.S. 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 Defense Superior Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Strike/Flight Medal (8th award), the University of Southern California (Ebonics Support Group) Outstanding Alumni Award (1982), National Technical Association Honorary Fellow (1983), Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of South Carolina (1984), Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Winthrop College (1986), the NASA Exceptional Service Medal (1988), and 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 Annapolis 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 - June 1973. Upon returning to the United States, Bolden began a two-year tour as a Marine Corps officer selection officer and recruiting officer in Los Angeles, California, followed by three years at the Marine Corps 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 Center's 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 5,000 hours flying time.

Selected by NASA in May 1980, Bolden became an astronaut in August 1981, qualified for assignment as a pilot on future Space Shuttle flight crews. His technical assignments to date include: 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, and Lead Astronaut for Vehicle Test and Checkout at the Kennedy Space Center. A veteran of three space flights, Bolden served as pilot on STS 61-C (January 12-18, 1986) and STS-31 (April 24-29, 1990), and was the mission commander on STS-45 (March 24 - April 2, 1992).

On his first mission Bolden was pilot on the crew of STS-61C, aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. During the six-day flight crew members deployed the SATCOM KU satellite and conducted experiments in astrophysics and materials processing. STS 61-C launched from 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. Bolden commanded a crew of seven on STS-45 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Launched on March 24, 1992 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-45 was the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASA's 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-1 obtained a vast array of detailed measurements of atmospheric chemical and physical properties, which will contribute significantly to improving our understanding 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 2, 1992.

With the completion of his third mission, Bolden had logged over 481 hours in space. On April 28, 1992, immediately following the STS-45 mission, Major General Bolden was appointed Assistant Deputy Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

He held this Washington, D.C. post until assigned as commander of STS-60, the 1994 flight of a six member crew on the Space Shuttle Discovery. This landmark eight day mission was the first joint U.S./Russian Space Shuttle mission, involving the participation of a Russian Cosmonaut as a mission specialist. The crew conducted a series of joint U.S./Russian science activities and carried the Space Habitation Module-2 and the Wake Shield Facility-01 into space. Upon completion of this fourth mission, Major General Bolden left the space program having logged more than 680 hours in space.

In 1995, after successfully completing a one year tour as the Deputy Commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Major General Bolden served as the Assistant Wing Commander, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in Miramar, Calif. In July of 1997, he was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General, I MEF, Marine Forces, Pacific. From February to June 1998, he served as Commanding General, I MEF (FWD) in support of Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait. In July 1998 he was promoted to his current rank and assumed his previous duties as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces, Japan. On January 31, 2002, General Bolden was nominated by President George W. Bush to become NASA's Deputy Administrator pending approval by Congress.

Major General Bolden has been awarded a number of military and NASA decorations and has received Honorary Doctorates from several distinguished universities.


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