There is good news for the Indian community as NASA has chosen 12 new astronauts, including an Indian-American, who will be trained for missions into Earth’s orbit and to deep space. The selection has been made out of 18,000 applicants.
Since 1959, the 22nd class of American spaceflight trainees includes seven men and five women. In the last two decades, this is the largest group selected by NASA. This has been a tough selection procedure for NASA.
To get selected, people have to meet certain specific requirements such as a mandatory bachelor’s degree in a STEM field or accumulating up to 1,000 hours of piloting jets.
The 12 new candidates include six military officers, three scientists, two medical doctors, a lead engineer at SpaceX and a NASA research pilot.
Lieutenant Colonel Raja “Grinder” Chari, 39, is a commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Chari’s father is from India, according to a report published in PTI. He, however, hails from Waterloo.
Chari got a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology after he graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.
After the completion of their training, these astronauts could be assigned to research missions on the International Space Station and flying into space on NASA’s new Orion spacecraft or its Space Launch System rocket.