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Charles Bolden made history after he was named the first Black permanent administrator for NASA. The retired Marine Corps Major General and astronaut was born August 19, 1946.

Charles Frank Bolden Jr. earned his bachelor’s of science in Electrical Science in 1968,and then earned a master’s in Systems Management from the University of Southern California in 1977. As a pilot in the early ‘70’s, Bolden flew over 100 times during the Vietnam War. After the war, Bolden took to the skies once more as a test pilot.

In 1980, NASA selected Charles Bolden for its astronaut program and he remained a member of the NASA Astronaut Corps until 1994. Bolden returned to the Marines in several deputy and commanding general posts for a number of campaigns, including Operation Desert Thunder.

President Barack Obama appointed Bolden in the NASA administrator role in 2009, and he served until the end of Obama’s presidency.

Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden turns 73 today.

PHOTO: Public Domain