Sen. Hutchison met yesterday with the new nominee to head NASA, former Major General Charles Bolden, Jr. When it was announced that Bolden would succeed outgoing NASA chief Michael Griffin, Hutchison said she was “delighted” with the choice. “He brings the enthusiasm for science and exploration that NASA needs at this crucial time in its history,” she said, according to this Houston Chronicle story.
Following their meeting, Hutchison reiterated that Bolden “has a great history as an astronaut. . . . He knows NASA. He knows what can be done.”
Though enthusiastic about the nominee, the senator did acknowledge that she and Bolden differ on certain issues, including the five year gap that’s planned between the end of this current shuttle program and NASA’s return to space. Bolden supports it, while Hutchison hopes to expedite our return to space. Both agree that continued space exploration will help solidify U.S. dominance in security and technology.
If confirmed, Bolden will be the first African-American to lead NASA on a permanent basis. There is currently no timetable set for confirmation.
On the media side of things, the TeamKay Twitter feed posted this picture of Sen. Hutchison and Bolden as the two met in her office yesterday. Also, you can catch the KTRK-TV video from the Houston ABC affiliate at the bottom of this post.
The space blogosphere (which sounds like some kind of creepy nightclub) is also abuzz (the puns!) about Bolden. Jeff Foust’s “Space Politics” blog documents the meeting of Bolden with Sen. Hutchison, as well as Sen. DeMint (R-S.C.). Bolden and DeMint both hail from the Palmetto state. The blog also has some nice links to stories from Florida–the other NASA-heavy state.
Conservative Politics, a great resource for monitoring conservative issues in national politics, points to a story from The Hill that acknowledges Sen. Hutchison’s frustration with those who are trying to cut NASA’s funding. The Hill story reads:
[Hutchison] said that U.S. manned space travel has helped national security, led to scientific breakthroughs that have helped the economy and improved relations with other countries, whose own space programs have worked with NASA.
“If we take people out of the equation, we will be cutting off the benefits of the huge investment that we’ve made,” she said.
What are your thoughts on the NASA nominee and potential cuts in funding? Keep your eyes out for the upcoming nomination process. Vodpod videos no longer available.