19 June 2017
NASA has announced its 12 new recruits for 2017, which will do exploration in low Earth orbit as well as deep space. The space agency has hired five women and seven men from over 18,300 applications received.
Vice President Mike Pence and Robert Lightfoot, NASA's acting administrator, announced the names of the new astronaut candidates during a special ceremony at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston.
Pence who admits to being a "lifelong NASA fan," said, "I can't tell you how privileged and honored I feel today to be able to congratulate the newest class of American heroes, the 2017 class of America's astronauts." He added that the Trump administration remains "firmly committed to NASA's noble mission — leading America in space. We couldn't go anywhere without the extraordinary men and women of NASA," Pence said.
The 12 astronauts include a physician, a surgeon, two geologists, an oceanography engineer, an electrical engineering professor, a SpaceX senior manager, four veteran test pilots, and a nuclear engineer. Out of the 12, three candidates hold degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and three have graduated from military academies. The new astronauts will have to undergo two years of intensive training at the Johnson Space Centre, before going for assignment to future space missions. These 12 recruits will join 44 other active-duty astronauts already on the NASA roster.
The twelve recruits include Kayla Barron, who is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and has a master's in nuclear engineering from the University of Cambridge. Zena Cardman a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow with a master's degree in marine science. Air Force Lt. Col. Raja Chari a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, a U.S. Navy test pilot school graduate and has a master's in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The fourth recruit is Navy Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick is a master's in systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. Bob Hines is a NASA research pilot at the Johnson Space Centre and master's in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama.
Warren "Woody" Hoburg, is an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California-Berkeley. Jonathan Kim is a resident physician for Partners Healthcare at Massachusetts General Hospital and is a doctorate of medicine from Harvard. Robb Kulin is a senior manager for flight reliability at SpaceX and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of California-San Diego.
Marine Maj. Jasmin Moghbeli is a master's in aerospace engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School and a graduate of the U.S. Navy Test Pilot school. Loral O'Hara, is a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and master's degree in propulsion. U.S. Army Maj is a surgeon for the 3rd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and a U.S. Military Academy graduate. Jessica Watkins is a post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology.
"We look forward to the energy and talent of these astronauts fuelling our exciting future of discovery, acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in prepared remarks. “We are going to keep them busy. These candidates are an important addition to the NASA family and the nation's human spaceflight team."