Latest NASA Astronaut Graduates Include Two Asian Americans

Two Asian American astronaut candidates graduate NASA’s basic training program and become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.

Following their graduation ceremony at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on Friday, January 10th, the 11 astronaut candidates will have completed more than two years of basic training. These candidates will become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars, a NASA press release said.

Raja Chari is the third astronaut candidate of Indian origin. Chari is a U.S Air Force Colonel from Cedar Falls, Iowa. He Graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy 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 in Patuxent River, Maryland. Chari served as the commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.

Dr. Jonny Kim is the first Korean American astronaut candidate in NASA history. a U.S. Navy lieutenant, was born and raised in Los Angeles. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, then 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 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The class includes 11 NASA candidates, as well as two Canadian Space Agency candidates, selected in 2017. The NASA candidates were chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants. The CSA candidates have been training alongside their NASA classmates.

Learn more about Dr. Kim in our profile below.

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