WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama planned to meet Monday with a candidate for the post of NASA administrator, Charles Bolden, a former shuttle commander and retired Marine major general.
Bolden had been considered for the No. 2 post of deputy administrator in 2002, but George W. Bush's White House withdrew the nomination because of his administration's campaign against terrorism.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed the meeting when asked Friday if Obama would announce a candidate next week.
"I think you know that the president will meet with somebody that he hopes will, wants to meet with somebody about filling the important role of future NASA administrator," Gibbs told reporters.
"He will meet with them on Monday and ... we'll see how that goes," Gibbs said.
Bolden, 62, of Houston, left NASA in 1994 after flying in space four times, twice as shuttle commander, and serving as assistant deputy administrator at NASA headquarters in Washington.
If he were to become the space agency's newest administrator, Bolden would be the first black person and second astronaut in the post.
The post requires Senate confirmation.