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Bruton graduate named to NASA astronaut candidate class

10 June 2017

NASA, along with Vice President Mike Pence, on Wednesday at the Johnson Space Center in Houston announced the newest class of astronaut recruits.

Pence said the White House planned to form a council to advise President Donald Trump on space policy and strategy, relaunching a body that has been inactive for more than 25 years.

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While delivering the speech, Pence touted the merits of the new astronaut class. NASA selects its top astronauts from a diverse pool of applicants with a wide variety of backgrounds, according to its website. The 12 candidates include six military officers, three scientists, two medical doctors, a lead engineer at SpaceX and a NASA research pilot. She hails from Baldwin, New York, earned her Bachelor's in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and got her Master's in Aerospace Engineering at the Naval Postgraduate School. Chari's father is from India, reported PTI. She is also a Penn State doctoral student in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, studying the reactions between rocks and microbes. Her research was focused on microorganisms in subsurface environments, ranging from caves to deep sea sediments. Matthew Dominick of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115.

Since the original Mercury 7 in 1959, with the inclusion of these 12 members of the 2017 astronaut candidates, NASA has selected a total of 350 astronauts till date. He was named a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Undergraduate Pilot Training, and the F-15E Formal Training Unit.

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Kim, a Naval Lieutenant, has trained and operated as a Navy SEAL, completing more than 100 combat operations and earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Valor.

Among the group of astronauts, ranging from in age from 29 to 42, is Robb Kulin, 33, senior manager for flight reliability at SpaceX, the private company that has manufactured and launched rockets into orbit, including the orbiting and recovering of a spacecraft. He's also worked as an ice driller in Antarctica and a commercial fisherman in Alaska. Jasmin Moghbeli, Loral O'Hara, Dr. Francisco "Frank" Rubio and Jessica Watkins.

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