Earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Science from the U.S. Naval Academy and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps where he became a combat aviator in 1968.
From 1972 to 1973, he flew over 100 sorties in the A-6A Intruder in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia
In 1977, he graduated with a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California and Naval Test Pilot School graduate from Patuxent River, Maryland
As a test pilot, Bolden flew over 6,000 hours assessing projects including the A-6E, EA-6B, and A-7C/E
In 1980, he was selected as a NASA Astronaut and traveled 4 times aboard the space shuttle, commanding 2 of those missions.
Nominated by President Barack Obama as the 12th NASA Administrator.
Under his command, NASA developed the Space Launch System rocket (SLS) and Orion spacecraft to carry astronauts to deep space destinations such as asteroids, the Moon, and Mars, landed on Mars with the Curiosity rover, launched a spacecraft to Jupiter, and enhanced of the nation’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites.
Was the first human to have his voice broadcast on the surface of Mars or any other planet. Although the Curiosity rover has no speakers, it received the transmission of his voice and then beamed it back to Earth.
Served 34 years in Marine Corp, 14 of those in the NASA Astronaut Corp.