NASA reveals 10 new astronaut candidates for a space station in future moon missions
The narrowed list of 10 members
The names of six men and four women disclosed on Monday (Dec. 6) are the 23rd group of astronaut candidates picked by NASA since the first Mercury 7 in 1959. They are the first astronauts to be selected since NASA’s Artemis moon program began. A pool of over 12,000 candidates was whittled down to a new batch of ten. This came after a lengthy recruitment procedure that started in March 2020 but was pushed back because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
At a ceremony held at Ellington Field, NASA’s flight operations base near Johnson Space Center in Houston, the astronaut candidates, or “ascans,” were announced. The gathering was presided over by agency authorities, including Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. It featured some of the same T-38 supersonic jets that the ascans will train with as a backdrop.
“Today, we welcome ten new explorers, ten members of NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class, the Artemis generation,” Nelson remarked. “Each candidate has the right stuff on their own, but collectively, they symbolize our country’s creed: E pluribus unum – out of many, one.”
Candidates are expected to report to Johnson in January to begin training in spacecraft systems, spacewalking abilities, and other space-related disciplines. Group 23 members will be eligible for a choice of postings after completing two years of basic training. They include conducting research on the International Space Station and deploying commercial spacecraft to low-Earth-orbit commercial colonies. It was also on the list to travel on missions into deep space aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
Who are the New Members?
Some of the applicants could join NASA’s Artemis team, which is a subsection of the agency’s astronaut office. They’ve been tasked with planning for the return of people to the moon and, eventually, a mission to Mars.
Seven military commanders, two scientists, two medical physicians, and a research pilot are among the possibilities. They are as follows:
- Jessica Wittner
- Christopher Williams
- Anil Menon
- Jack Hathaway
- Andre Douglas
- Luke Delaney
- Deniz Burnham
- Christina Birch
- Marcos Berríos
- Nichole Ayers
Two candidates from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will join the new astronaut candidates in their training. Nora AlMatrooshi, a 28-year-old mechanical engineer, and Mohammad AlMulla, a 33-year-old Dubai Police pilot, have been arrested. In April, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in Dubai will elect these candidates.
Chief Astronaut Reid Wiseman leads NASA’s astronaut corps, which presently has 44 active members. In its more than 60-year history, NASA has chosen 360 men and women to train as astronauts, with the addition of the latest class.