After completing more than two years of basic training, our graduating class of astronauts is eligible for spaceflight. Assignments include the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.
The class includes 11 astronauts, selected in 2017 from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants. This was more than double the previous record of 8,000 applicants set in 1978.
Meet the graduates:
“If you don’t love what you’re doing, you’re not going to be good at it. I think it’s a combination of finding things that you really love that will also be really challenging and will force you to grow along the way.”
This Washington native graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering. As a Gates Cambridge Scholar, which offers students an opportunity to pursue graduate study in the field of their choice at the University of Cambridge. Barron earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering.
As a Submarine Warfare Officer, Barron was part of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community, completing three strategic deterrent patrols aboard the USS Maine.
“Every STEM opportunity that I have ever gone down is because of some mentor who inspired me or some student who was ahead of me in school who inspired me.”
Zena Cardman is a native of Virginia and completed a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in marine sciences at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research has focused on microorganisms in subsurface environments, ranging from caves to deep sea sediments.
An intrepid explorer, Cardman’s field experience includes multiple Antarctic expeditions, work aboard research vessels as both scientist and crew, and NASA analog missions in British Columbia, Idaho, and Hawaii.
“I grew up with the mentality that education is truly a gift not to be taken for granted.”
This Iowa native graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1999 with bachelor’s degrees in astronautical engineering and engineering science. He continued on to earn a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.
Chari served as the Commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the Director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force. He has accumulated more than 2,000 hours of flight time in the F-35, F-15, F-16 and F-18 including F-15E combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I get to work with incredible people that want to solve problems and are passionate about it. I really want to contribute to the world and this is how I want to do it.”
This Colorado native earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He also graduated from U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.
Dominick served on the USS Ronald Reagan as department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115. He has more than 1,600 hours of flight time in 28 aircraft, 400 carrier-arrested landings and 61 combat missions.
“As you get older, other things become important to you, like being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself. This human endeavor of exploration is something that’s really exciting.”
Bob Hines is a Pennsylvania native and earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Boston University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, where he earned a master’s degree in flight test engineering. He continued on to earn a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama.
Hines served in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves for 18 years. He also served as a research pilot at our Johnson Space Center. He has accumulated more than 3,500 hours of flight time in 41 different types of aircraft and has flown 76 combat missions in support of contingency operations around the world.
“It was back in high school that I realized that I was really interested in engineering. I always liked taking things apart and understanding how things work and then I also really enjoy solving problems.”
Nicknamed “Woody”, this Pennsylvania native earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT and a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Hoburg was leading a research group at MIT at the time of his selection and is a two-time recipient of the AIAA Aeronautics and Astronautics Teaching Award in recognition of outstanding teaching.
Dr. Jonny Kim
“I fundamentally believed in the NASA mission of advancing our space frontier, all while developing innovation and new technologies that would benefit all of humankind.”
This California native trained and operated as a Navy SEAL, completing more than 100 combat operations and earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat “V”. Afterward, he went on to complete a degree in mathematics at the University of San Diego and a doctorate of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Kim was a resident physician in emergency medicine with Partners Healthcare at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Surround yourself with good people that have the characteristics that you want to grow in yourself. I think if you surround yourself with people like that you kind of bring each other up to a higher and higher level as you go.”
Jasmin Moghbeli, a U.S. Marine Corps major, considers Baldwin, New York, her hometown. She earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with information technology at MIT, followed by a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.
She is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and has accumulated more than 1,600 hours of flight time and 150 combat missions.
“I’m one of those people who have wanted to be an astronaut since I was a little kid, and I think that came from an early obsession with flying – birds, airplanes, rockets.”
This Houston native earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Kansas and a Master of Science degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University. As a student, she participated in multiple NASA internship programs, including the Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program, the NASA Academy at Goddard Space Flight Center, and the internship program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
O’Hara was a research engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where she worked on the engineering, test and operations of deep-ocean research submersibles and robots. She is also a private pilot and certified EMT and wilderness first responder.
Dr. Frank Rubio
“I just figured it was time to take the plunge and try it. And so, I did and beyond all dreams, it came true.”
Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, is originally from Miami. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the U.S. Military Academy and earned a doctorate of medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
Rubio served as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot and flew more than 1,100 hours, including more than 600 hours of combat and imminent danger time during deployments to Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is also a board certified family physician and flight surgeon.
“I’ve always been interested in exploring space. What’s out there and how can we as humans reach those outer stars and how can we learn more information about who we are through that process.”
This Colorado native earned a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences at Stanford University, and a doctorate in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Watkins has worked at Ames Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Watkins was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, where she collaborated on the Mars Curiosity rover, participating in daily planning of rover activities and investigating the geologic history of the Red Planet.
Learn more about the new space heroes right here: https://www.nasa.gov/newastronauts
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