The selection of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, former astronaut and retired U.S. Marine Corps major general, as the 2014 recipient of the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation’s annual National Space Trophy was announced Tuesday.
Bolden, who became NASA’s 12th top administrator in July 2009, will be honored on April 11 in Houston.
“We are pleased with the selection of the board of advisors and look forward to celebrating General Bolden’s exemplary service,” said RNASA Foundation president Rodolfo Gonzalez.
Kennedy Space Center director Robert Cabana, among those who nominated Bolden for the award noted his colleague’s “many years of dedicated service and exceptional leadership through an extremely challenging transition in America’s space program, establishing NASA’s exploration architecture for the future and establishing successful commercial operations to low Earth orbit.”
Under Bolden’s leadership, the space agency has pursued a strategy to turn human as well as cargo missions to low Earth orbit to commercial operators, while freeing the space agency to pursue future deep space missions through the development of the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket and the Orion crew capsule.
His tenure also brought the closely followed landing of the Curiosity Mars rover in August 2012, new Earth science missions and an increase in scientific research aboard the six person International Space Station.
Bolden retired for the U. S. Marine Corps as a major general in 2003 after 34 years of military service. Those included 14 years at NASA as an astronaut. Bolden flew four shuttle missions as commander or pilot between 1986 and 2004. He was the pilot on the 1990 mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope.
“I am humbled by this selection and will be extremely honored to attend the RNASA gala in April to accept this award on behalf of the entire NASA-Contractor Team I am privileged to lead,” he said in a statement.