At an exchange with senior high school students in Hanoi on December 11, Charles Bolden, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US, attributed his success to hard work, study and not being afraid of failure.
Bolden advised the young students not to be afraid to face failure and persist in their dream and set aside all difficulties. Students must also try to fully understand what teachers tell, which makes for a firm background for future careers.
Bolden shared with students his experiences as an astronaut for NASA as well as NASA’s present and future plans. His humorous stories of life in space with his colleagues made the students burst into laughter.
His stories motivated all the students to want to become astronauts. He said all students including those in Vietnam have equal opportunities to engage in NASA-funded space research programs if they have a passion. If the students want to pursue science-related careers or other fields, they need to prepare to achieve that goal.
When asked about rumors of apocalypse day on December 21, 2012, Bolden said he is only focused on some days, one of which is mid 2030 when NASA plans to put a man on Mars.
Moreover, he said nobody can predict when he or she will fall ill or die; therefore, instead of being so worried about these matters and the future, people should act to make things become better while we are still healthy.
A 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Bolden became a Marine Aviator and test pilot. After his service as an astronaut, he became Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy.
On May 23, 2009, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Bolden as NASA Administrator and Lori Garver as Deputy NASA Administrator. Bolden was confirmed by the Senate on July 15, 2009.He is the first African American to head the agency on a permanent basis.
Selected by NASA in May 1980, Bolden became an astronaut in August 1981. His technical assignments included--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; Lead Astronaut for Vehicle Test and Checkout at the Kennedy Space Center; and Assistant Deputy Administrator, NASA Headquarters.
A veteran of four space flights, he has logged more than 680 hours in space. 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, 1992 – April 2, 1992), and STS-60 (February 3–11, 1994).
Bolden was the first person to ride the Launch Complex 39 slide wire basket which enable rapid escape from a Space Shuttle on the launch pad. The need for a human test was determined following a launch abort on STS-41-D where controllers were afraid to order the crew to use the untested escape system.
In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Bolden as administrator of NASA. Bolden said his agency's long-term ambition is landing astronauts on Mars. However, he has cited spending-cuts as a concern for major NASA projects.
On August 28, 2012, he was the first human being to have his voice broadcast from the surface of Mars.