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Charles F. Bolden Jr  (Source: AFP)
NASA has a new leader

After weeks of rumor and speculation over who President Barack Obama would choose to lead NASA, he has selected former Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, Jr. who will be responsible for an interesting future facing the U.S. space agency.

"He's a patriot, a leader and a visionary," Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) recently said in a video statement regarding Bolden.  "He understands the workings of NASA and the importance of America remaining a leader in science and technology through space exploration."

After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1968, Bolden then served as a naval aviator who flew in North and South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos -- he flew more than 100 Marine combat missions.  He joined NASA in 1980 as an astronaut and blasted into orbit during four different space missions during his NASA career that came to an end in 1994.  

There was concern among several space experts that Obama would become president and take money away from space programs -- a move he is obviously trying to prove will never happen now that Bolden will be given reigns to the agency.

Most space experts agree Bolden is qualified for the position, though it'll be interesting to hear his thoughts on several important NASA issues, including the possible shuttle fleet retirement next year.  Selecting a former astronaut and military officer may be a sign that, like other nations, the U.S. is interested in blurring the lines between NASA and space research funds used by the government, analysts say.  

Bolden reportedly is interested in delaying the shuttle fleet's retirement, and that will likely be one of the first topics discussed when he officially becomes the new head of NASA.





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