Former US Marine Corps aviator and four-time Space Shuttle astronaut Charles Bolden has been nominated as NASA administrator by president Barack Obama.
After months of speculation, the nomination has been welcomed by the Aerospace Industries Association, the US space industry's Coalition for Space Exploration and the spaceflight advocacy organisation Space Foundation.
In the president's statement, which included the nomination for Bolden's deputy of Lori Garver, who was President Bill Clinton's NASA office of policy and plans associate administrator, Obama says: "These talented individuals will help put NASA on course to boldly push the boundaries of science, aeronautics and exploration."
The US space agency recently unveiled its fiscal year 2010 budget and announce a review of US human spaceflight plans without knowing who would lead the programme. Michael Griffin, who led NASA during the George Bush administration, resigned on Obama's succession in January.
US media reported that Bolden was the favourite of Florida Democratic party Senator Bill Nelson. The senator released a video of himself welcoming the nomination before the White House released the press release about the choice.