Astronaut Charles F. Bolden, STS-60 commander, sits at the commander’s station on the forward flight deck of the space shuttle Discovery in this image from February 1994. While aboard Discovery, the crew attempted to deploy the Wake Shield Facility-1, a deployable/retrievable experiment platform designed to leave a vacuum wake in low earth orbit that is 10,000 times greater than achievable on Earth. The crew also conducted in-flight medical and radiological investigations and spoke with world leaders from space.
Bolden was a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office for 14 years. After joining the office in 1980, he traveled to orbit four times aboard the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions and piloting two others.
He then became the 12th NASA Administrator. During his tenure, the agency’s support of commercial space transportation systems for reaching low Earth orbit enabled successful commercial cargo resupply of the space station and significant progress toward returning the capability for American companies to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017. Bolden also supported NASA’s contributions toward development of developing cleaner, faster, and quieter airplanes. The agency’s dynamic science activities under Bolden include an unprecedented landing on Mars with the Curiosity rover, launch of a spacecraft to Jupiter, enhancing the nation’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites, and continued progress toward the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
Watch the first episode of “The Color of Space: The Series” and delve deep into the extraordinary life of Charlie Bolden.