Last updated July 31, 2017 at 7:04 pm
Over 18,000 Americans applied but only 12 were selected. Meet the newest additions to NASA’s astronaut group.
NASA has unveiled the latest additions to the roster of astronauts available for space flight. The group of 5 women and seven men bring the total number of astronauts on NASA’s roster to 56.
To be selected as an astronaut, applicants must hold a STEM tertiary qualification or have jet flying experience. The new group include doctors, geologists, a marine microbiologist, an electrical engineer, a former employee of SpaceX, and a nuclear engineer, as well as the usual selection of military pilots.
The group won’t be able to go to space immediately; they still face at least 2 years of training before being available for space flight. However once they do, they could be amongst the first people to travel to deep space.
NASA has made no secret of their ambitions to explore away from Earth, including sending astronauts to Mars, and one of these new astronauts could well be the first to set foot on the red planet. One new astronaut, Jessica Watkins, has already worked on Mars from afar as a geologist on the Curiosity Rover mission. When NASA Flight Operations Director Brian Kelly introduced Watkins he said “We intend to send her to Mars one day, folks.’’
As well as potential deep space travel, the astronauts will also likely work on the International Space Station, which NASA is committed to helping operate until 2024.
The 12 are:
Kayla Barron, submarine-warfare officer and nuclear engineer
Zena Cardman, graduate research fellow at the National Science Foundation with a specialty in microorganisms in subsurface environments such as caves
Raja Chari, senior Air Force F-35 test pilot with a Masters in Aeronautics and Astronautics
Matthew Dominick, Navy test pilot and department head for a strike fighter squadron
Bob Hines, NASA research pilot at Johnson Space Center
Warren ‘‘Woody’’ Hoburg, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jonny Kim, Navy officer who trained as a SEAL and is completing his residency in emergency medicine
Robb Kulin, senior manager for flight reliability for SpaceX, and has previously worked in Antarctica
Jasmin Moghbeli, quality assurance and avionics officer for the Marines
Loral O’Hara, research engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Francisco ‘‘Frank’’ Rubio, an Army major who is serving as a surgeon
Jessica Watkins, postdoctoral fellow at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.
You can read more about each astronaut here
Image courtesy of NASA