Former NASA Administrator and Columbia native Charles Bolden is the keynote speaker of the annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo this week in his hometown.
“On the one hand he is such an enormous inspiration,” South Carolina Council on Competitiveness Director of Aerospace Initiatives Adrianne Beasley said. “Not just to the industry folks that are going to be there and have massive respect, but also just that he’s a South Carolina native. A Columbia native.”
Bolden was the pilot of the space shuttle flight which launched the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth orbit in 1990. He also flew more than 100 combat missions during the Vietnam War and eventually retired as a general.
“He really brings an inspirational presence to be able to talk to the companies that are there but also the students that we will have there,” Beasley said. “Middle school and high school students will be attending in order to hear him speak so they will be able to hear his story of how he got to where he is.”
The council helped organize and host the Fifth Annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo from October 9-10 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The event has grown every year and more than 550 were in attendance last year.