NASA recently announced its 10 latest trainee astronauts. These are firefighter turned Harvard professor, another is a former member of the national cycle team, and another one is a pilot who led the first-ever all-woman F-22 formation in combat also.
This 2021 class was filtered from a field of more than 12,000 applicants. They will report for duty in January at the Johnson Space Center in Texas. There only they will undergo two years of training.
“We’re going back to the Moon, and we’re continuing on to Mars — and so today we welcome 10 new explorers,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said at an event to welcome the recruits.
These 10 candidates range in age from 32 to 45. They will learn how to operate and maintain the International Space Station (ISS), also they are trained for spacewalks. Besides, they will learn to develop robotics skills, safely operate a T-38 training jet, and learn Russian to communicate with their counterparts.
After graduating, they would be assigned to missions aboard the ISS. It is worth noting that this will also have the first woman and person of colour to set foot on lunar soil.
Indian-born Anil Menon, 45, a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force is also among the chosen ones.
The last class that graduated from NASA was in 2017. Two of its members, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron, are currently serving aboard the ISS.
It was open to US citizens who hold a master’s degree in a STEM field. This is the first time such a requirement was added. The master’s degree requirement could also be met by a medical degree or completing a test pilot program.