Charles F. Bolden, Jr. | Conversations with Scientists & Astronauts


Major General, USMC, Charles F. Bolden, Jr. - military pilot, astronaut, shuttle pilot, and former NASA administrator (resigned Jan. 20, 2017). 

In a conversation with students, Major General Bolden discusses shuttle missions, how it feels prior to a launch, and the importance of following the procedures. He tells students about the Challenger mission, and how a shuttle is much like a giant bomb, in that it is full of propellant. He describes the four segments of the shuttle that contain propellant. He explains the leak that occurred and how the solid rocket booster punctured the tank full of hydrogen and oxygen, and explains that this is what caused the crew to be lost in 1986. He explained that it was two-and-a-half years before another mission was flown. He discusses that astronauts focus on what they've been trained to do, and don't think too much about the risks, or they would never be able to do their jobs. 

He discusses what it's like to land and the effect of gravity returning during a landing. He talks about the medical effects of being in space, and the need to exercise while in space. While on a shuttle mission, the shuttle goes around the earth once every 90 minutes, and there are 16 sunrises and sunsets each day. 

Major General Bolden also discusses the Hubble Telescope and mentions Frank Culbertson, Charles Duke, the late Steve Thorne and the late Ron McNair, all astronauts who came from South Carolina.