NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Jan. 23 that there is an active search underway to pick a new deputy administrator, although the ultimate decision is out of his hands. 

“The search is on,” he said during a question-and-answer session with attendees of a “NASA Social” event at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., prior to the launch of the agency’s newest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite. “I don’t pick the deputy administrator. Like me, the deputy administrator is a presidential appointee. We’ve been through several candidates and everything, and my hope is that we’re narrowing in on a final candidate.”

Bolden did not disclose who the candidates for the position are, or when he expected the administration to formally nominate a deputy administrator. 

“I will say there are some very, very promising prospects out there, so I’m excited to get a deputy whenever they can get around to it,” he said.

Bolden has been without a deputy since Lori Garver left the agency in early September for the Airline Pilots Association.