NASA Astronaut Group 21
NASA Astronaut Group 21 In 2011 NASA opened applications for Astronaut Group 21. The team was announced in June 2013 after a year and a half long search. With four men and four women, the class of 2013 had the highest percentage of female finalists. According to NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins, "it's… a reflection of how many really talented women are in science and engineering these days." NASA received a total of over 6,300 applications, which made it the second highest number received at the time (the class of 2017 surpassed both records with a total of more than 18,300).
Traditionally, the upcoming class is given a nickname by the previous class. Following this custom, the class of 2009 (also known as "The Chumps") christened the 2013 class the "Eight Balls" in reference to the fact that there are eight of them. In an interview with Bob Behnken, chief of the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center, stated that the name further represents that, "The eight ball [in billiards or pool] is played last and the hope from the preceding class is that the [2013 astronaut candidates] will be assigned after all of them [fly]." The team consists of eight people, Jessica Meir, Ph.D., Major Nicole Mann, Lt. Commander Josh Cassada, Ph.D., Lt. Colonel Tyler Hague, Cristina Hammock, Major Andrew Morgan, M.D., Lt. Commander Victor Glover, and Major Anne McClain.
On April 9, 1959 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the finalists for Astronaut Group 1. This group of seven astronauts, also sometimes known as the "Original Seven" or the "Mercury Seven" were a part of the first human spaceflight program, called Project Mercury. Since the original group, the total number of astronaut groups has grown to 22 as of 2017. The class joined 47 other active NASA astronauts.
Selection and training
A requirement for selection to the astronaut program is to have United States citizenship, a degree in science, engineering or math. In addition, you need three years of professional experience for non-pilots and at least 1000 hours of jet flight time for pilots is required. Community service is an advantage. Lastly, applicants must be able to pass the NASA flight physical. The selection process takes approximately 18 months.
Astronaut candidates go through two years of training. They study engineering, earth and space science, meteorology and space station systems. They also undergo strenuous survival training including scuba certification and swim test qualifications. After this stage, the astronauts who are selected to continue work with senior astronauts who mentor them in furthering their training. In the final training period, the astronauts focus on the specific requirements for their mission.
- Josh A. Cassada was born in San Diego, California and raised in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. He completed his Bachelor of Arts Degree in physics at Albion College in 1995. He then earned his Master of Arts degree and a Doctorate from the University of Rochester with a specialty in high energy particle physics. He graduated from U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 2006 and has since risen to the rank of Lt. Commander.
- Victor J. Glover was born in Pomona, California. He attended California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA where he studied general engineering. He has several Master of Science degrees including flight test engineering and systems engineering. He was a pilot for the US Navy and earned the rank of Commander. He was selected to attend the Air Force Test Pilot School and served as a test pilot, flying with the Dust Devils.
- Tyler N. Hague was born in Belleville, Kansas, and was raised in another Kansas town called Hoxie. He earned his Bachelor of Science in astronautical engineering at the United States Air Force Academy. In 1998 he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He continued his education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning his Master of Science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 2000.
- Christina Hammock Koch was born Michigan and raised in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She graduated from North Carolina State University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degrees in physics and in electrical engineering, the latter of which she furthered to a Master of Science in 2002.
- Nicole Aunapu Mann was born in Petaluma, California. She earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She chose to further her degree in mechanical engineering at Stanford University, earning her Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering with a specialty in fluid mechanics. In the years following her commission in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1999, she has achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel.
- Anne C. McClain was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. She attended West Point Military Academy, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in mechanical/aeronautical engineering. After being commissioned as an Army officer, she continued her education in England, getting a Master of Science in aerospace engineering from University of Bath and a Master of Science in international relations from University of Bristol.
- Jessica U. Meir, Ph. D., was born in Caribou, Maine. As a student at Brown University she earned a degree in biology. She has a Master of Science degree in space studies and a doctorate in marine biology.
- Andrew R. Morgan, MD was born in Morgantown, West Virginia. He studied at the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY and earned a degree in environmental engineering. He went on to study medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD and did his residency in emergency medicine and a fellowship in primary care sports medicine. As a physician in the Army, he also trained as a Ranger, Combat Diver and Airborne and Freefall Parachutist.
The 2013 class will be the "first who will be trained for exploration beyond Earth orbit since the Apollo years." Their first goal is to visit a near-earth asteroid, as preparation for an eventual mission to Mars. NASA's hope is that the astronauts will complete the asteroid visit by the year 2020. As of 2015 all members of the group have completed their training and are now eligible to take part in future missions. As of yet, only Tyler Hague has been selected for an expedition to the International Space Station, for Expedition 57/58.
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