Promoting U.S.-India Space Cooperation: Visit by U.S. Astronaut and Former NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

Bengaluru, March 5:  United States Science Envoy for Space, Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., is visiting Bengaluru, March 6-7, 2019, to promote U.S.-India space cooperation.  The former U.S. Space Shuttle Commander and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator is conducting meetings with government officials, academics, students, and civil society.

Maj. Gen. Bolden said in a statement, “I am looking forward to my return visit to India, to build upon the robust cooperation between U.S. and Indian scientists and space engineers, as we proceed together as partners in the exploration of space.  I am especially looking forward to meeting with students and children to inspire them to dream of flying to space.”

Envoy Bolden will visit India’s premier space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and meet ISRO Chairman K. Sivan to explore opportunities for expanded U.S.-India partnership.  Envoy Bolden will give presentations and interact with scholars and faculty at the National Law School of India University, Indian Institute of Science, and M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology on the topics of international space law, commercialization of space exploration, and challenges facing space policy and space engineering.  He will also give inspirational talks to students at the Bharath Scouts and Guides and the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium, encouraging them to study science and pursue boundless curiosity and discovery.

As U.S. Science Envoy for Space, Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, has been traveling the world on behalf of the U.S. Department of State to promote bilateral science and technology partnerships in space exploration with a special emphasis commercial space opportunities.  Bolden’s visit to India occurs during a yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.  United States Astronaut and Apollo 11 Commander, Neil Armstrong, became the first man to step on the moon on July 21, 1969.

Bolden served as the 12th Administrator of NASA, where he oversaw the safe transition from 30 years of Space Shuttle missions to a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station and space and aeronautics technology development.  Bolden led a 34-year career with the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office.  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.

Biography for Major General Charles Bolden, Jr.

Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr. (USMC-Ret.) was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  He began his duties as head of the Agency on July 17, 2009 and retired from NASA on January 20, 2017.

At NASA, Bolden oversaw the safe transition from 30 years of Space Shuttle missions to a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station and space and aeronautics technology development.  The Agency’s dynamic science activities under Bolden include an unprecedented landing on Mars with the Curiosity rover, launch of a spacecraft to Jupiter and continued progress toward the 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Born August 19, 1946, in Columbia, SC, Bolden graduated from C. A. Johnson High School in 1964 and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical science in 1968 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.  In 1977, he earned a Master of Science degree in systems management from the University of Southern California.

Bolden also had a long and distinguished military career.  He flew over 100 combat missions during the Vietnam War.  He later served as a test pilot for the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates.  After completing his service as an astronaut in 1994, he served as the Assistant Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy and in 1998 as the Commanding General of the Marine expeditionary force attached to Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait.  He last served as Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, prior to his retirement from the Marine Corps.

Bolden’s 34-year career with the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office.  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 retired from the Marine Corps in 2003.

Bolden’s past honors include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, three NASA Exceptional Service Medals and four NASA Space Flight Medals. He received the National Space Trophy in 2014 and holds several Honorary Doctorate degrees from numerous institutions of higher education.  He was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in May 2006 and enshrined into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in October 2017.

Today Bolden serves as the President and CEO of The Bolden Consulting Group LLC.  He serves as an independent Director of the LORD Corporation and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings.  He also serves as a pro-bono Director of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the Naval Academy Foundation and the Alliance for Peacebuilding.  He is a Regent of the Potomac Institute and a Trustee of the Bankinteer Innovation Foundation.

Bolden is married to the former Alexis (Jackie) Walker of Columbia, SC.  The couple has two children—Anthony Ché, a colonel in the Marine Corps, who is married to the former Penelope McDougal of Sydney, Australia; and Kelly Michelle, a plastic surgeon at the Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC.  The couple has three grand­daughters: Mikaley, Kyra, and Talia.