astronaut candidates

Meet America’s #NewAstronauts

We’re so excited to introduce America’s new astronauts! After evaluating a record number of applications, we’re proud to present our 2017 astronaut class!

These 12 new astronaut candidates were chosen from more than 18,300 people who submitted applications from December 2015 to February 2016. This was more than double the previous record of 8,000 set in 1978.

Meet them…

Kayla Barron

This Washington native graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering. A Gates Cambridge Scholar, Barron earned a Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Cambridge.

She enjoys hiking, backpacking, running and reading.

Zena Cardman

Zena is a native of Virginia and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Master of Science 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.

In her free time, she enjoys canoeing, caving, raising backyard chickens and glider flying.

Raja Chari

Raja is an Iowa native and 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 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

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.

Matthew Dominick

This Colorado native earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of San Diego and a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He graduated from U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

He has more than 1,600 hours of flight time in 28 aircraft, 400 carrier-arrested landigns and 61 combat missions.

Bob Hines

Bob 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.

During the last five years, he has served as a research pilot at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Warren Hoburg

Nicknamed “Woody”, this Pennsylvania native earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkley.

He is an avid rock climber, moutaineer and pilot.

Jonny Kim

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.

His interests include spending time with his family, volunteering with non-profit vertern organizations, academic mentoring, working out and learning new skills.

Robb Kulin

Robb is an Alaska native and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Denver, before going on to complete a Master’s degree in Materials Science and a Doctorate in Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

He is a private pilot and also enjoys playing piano, photography, packrafting, running, cycling, backcountry skiing and SCUBA diving.

Jasmin Moghbeli

This New York native earned a Bachlor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.

She is also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and has accumulated mofre than 1,600 hours of flight time and 150 combat missions.

Loral O’Hara

This Texas native earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University.

In her free time, she enjoys working in the garage, traveling, surfing, diving, flying, sailing, skiing, hiking/orienteering, caving, reading and painting.

Frank Rubio

Frank is a Florida native and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and earned a Doctorate of Medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

He is a board certified family physician and flight surgeon. At the time of his selection, he was serving in the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Jessica Watkins

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 (UCLA).

She enjoys soccer, rock climbing, skiing and creative writing.

After completing two years of training, the new astronaut candidates could be assigned to missions performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, and launching on deep space missions on our new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

5 Training Requirements for New Astronauts

After evaluating a record number of applications, we will introduce our newest class of astronaut candidates on June 7!

Upon reporting to duty at our Johnson Space Center in Houston, the new astronaut candidates will complete two years of training before they are eligible to be assigned to a mission. 

Here are the five training criteria they must check off to graduate from astronaut candidate to astronaut:

1. T-38 Jets

Astronauts have been training in T-38 jets for more than 35 years because the sleek, white jets require crew members to think quickly in dynamic situations and to make decisions that have real consequences. This type of mental experience is critical to preparing for the rigors of spaceflight. To check off this training criteria, astronaut candidates must be able to safely operate in the T-38 as either a pilot or back seater.

2. International Space Station Systems

We are currently flying astronauts to the International Space Station every few months. Astronauts aboard the space station are conducting experiments benefitting humanity on Earth and teaching us how to live longer in space. Astronaut candidates learn to operate and maintain the complex systems aboard the space station as part of their basic training.

3. Spacewalks

Spacewalks are the hardest thing, physically and mentally, that astronauts do. Astronaut candidates must demonstrate the skills to complete complex spacewalks in our Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (giant pool used to simulate weightlessness).  In order to do so, they will train on the life support systems within the spacesuit, how to handle emergency situations that can arise and how to work effectively as a team to repair the many critical systems aboard the International Space Station to keep it functioning as our science laboratory in space.  

4. Robotics

Astronaut candidates learn the coordinate systems, terminology and how to operate the space station’s robotic arm. They train in Canada for a two week session where they develop more complex robotics skills including capturing visiting cargo vehicles with the arm. The arm, built by the Canadian Space Agency, is capable of handling large cargo and hardware, and helped build the entire space station. It has latches on either end, allowing it to be moved by both flight controllers on the ground and astronauts in space to various parts of the station.

5. Russian Language

The official languages of the International Space Station are English and Russian, and all crewmembers – regardless of what country they come from – are required to know both. NASA astronauts train with their Russian crew mates and launch on the Russian Soyuz vehicle, so it makes sense that they should be able to speak Russian. Astronaut candidates start learning the language at the beginning of their training. They train on this skill every week, as their schedule allows, to keep in practice.

Now, they are ready for their astronaut pin!

After completing this general training, the new astronaut candidates could be assigned to missions performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, and launching on deep space missions on our new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Watch the Astronaut Announcement LIVE!

We will introduce our new astronaut candidates at 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday, June 7, from our Johnson Space Center in Houston. 

Watch live online at or on NASA’s Facebook Page. 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:


My illustration for Captain America/Iron Man Reverse Bang 2017 for @gottalovev amazing story “To dream of the stars“


Title: to dream of the stars

Artist:@wolviecat  - can be found HERE


Rating (both art/fic): Art: Gen

                                Fic: Explicit

Universe: MCU Alternate Universe – Astronaut AU

Word Count: 32 400 words

Warnings: Appearance of character death (not true!)

Fic Summary: Fifteen years after a summer romance at Space Academy that left them brokenhearted, Steve and Tony meet again as astronaut candidates.


G E N E R A T I O N   K I L L   A U   |   T h e   M a r t i a n

         ↳ meet the crew

  • CDR. Nathaniel Fick; Fick graduated with honors from the US Naval Academy. He will be the youngest commander to lead a mission to Mars.
  • Brad Colbert; Colbert graduated high school at sixteen, and won NASA’s largest hackathon at seventeen before moving on to MIT for dual undergraduate degrees in math and computer science. 
  • Ray Person; Person applied to the NASA Astronaut Candidate Program and was selected for his outstanding academic accomplishments, dedication and service to community, and an exemplary record of professional achievements.
  • Walt Hasser; Hasser holds a master’s degree in both chemistry and astrophysics as well as a doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. A noted scientist and experience astronaut, he will serve as the navigtor on the Hermes.
  • Antonio Espera; Espera earned a bachelor of science in astronautical engineering at the United States Air Force Academy. He now joins the Ares 3 crew as pilot after eleven decorated years of service in the United States Air Force.
  • DR. Timothy Bryan; Bryan graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine. Since joining NASA, Timothy Bryan has made two trips to SpaceXStation and completed five spacewalks (EVAs.)
10 Questions About the 2017 Astronaut Class

We will select between eight and 14 new astronaut candidates from among a record-breaking applicant class of more than 18,300, almost three times the number of applications the agency received in 2012 for the recent astronaut class, and far surpassing the previous record of 8,000 in 1978.

The candidates will be announced at an event at our Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas at 2 p.m. EDT on June 7. You can find more information on how to watch the announcement HERE.

1. What are the qualifications for becoming an astronaut?

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements before submitting an application.

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics. 
  • Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft
  • Ability to pass the NASA Astronaut physical.

For more information, visit:

2. What have selections looked like in the past?

There have been 22 classes of astronauts selected from the original “Mercury Seven” in 1959 to the most recent 2017 class. Other notable classes include:

  • The fourth class in 1965 known as “The Scientists: because academic experience was favored over pilot skills. 
  • The eighth class in 1978 was a huge step forward for diversity, featuring the first female, African American and Asian American selections.
  • The 16th class in 1996 was the largest class yet with 44 members – 35 U.S. astronauts and 9 international astronauts. They were selected for the frequent Space Shuttle flights and the anticipated need for International Space Station crewmembers.
  • The 21st class in 2013 was the first class to have 50/50 gender split with 4 female members and 4 male members.

3. What vehicles will they fly in?

They could be assigned on any of four different spacecraft: the International Space Station, our Orion spacecraft for deep space exploration or one of two American-made commercial crew spacecraft currently in development – Boeing’s CST-199 Starliner or the SpaceX Crew Dragon.

4. Where will they go?

These astronauts will be part of expanded crews aboard the space station that will significantly increase the crew time available to conduct the important research and technology demonstrations that are advancing our knowledge for missions farther into space than humans have gone before, while also returning benefits to Earth. They will also be candidates for missions beyond the moon and into deep space aboard our Orion spacecraft on flights that help pave the way for missions to Mars.

5. What will their roles be?

After completing two years of general training, these astronaut candidates will be considered full astronauts, eligible to be assigned spaceflight missions. While they wait for their turn, they will be given duties within the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center. Technical duties can range from supporting current missions in roles such as CAPCOM in Mission Control, to advising on the development of future spacecraft.

6. What will their training look like?

The first two years of astronaut candidate training will focus on the basic skills astronauts need. They’ll practice for spacewalks in Johnson’s 60-foot deep swimming pool, the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, which requires SCUBA certification. They’ll also simulate bringing visiting spacecraft in for a berthing to the space station using its robotic arm, Canadarm2, master the ins and outs of space station system and learn Russian. 

And, whether they have previous experience piloting an aircraft of not, they’ll learn to fly our fleet of T-38s. In addition, they’ll perfect their expeditionary skills, such as leadership and fellowship, through activities like survival training and geology treks.

7.  What kinds of partners will they work with?

They will join a team that supports missions going on at many different NASA centers across the country, but they’ll also interact with commercial partners developing spaceflight hardware. In addition, they will work with our international partners around the globe: ESA (the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

8. How does the selection process work?

All 18,353 of the applications submitted were reviewed by human resources experts to determine if they met the basic qualifications. Those that did were then each reviewed by a panel of about 50 people, made up primarily of current astronauts. Called the Astronaut Rating Panel, that group narrowed to applicants down to a few hundred of what they considered the most highly qualified individuals, whose references were then checked.

From that point, a smaller group called the Astronaut Selection Board brought in the top 120 applicants for an intense round of interviews and some initial medical screening tests. That group is further culled to the top 50 applicants afterward, who are brought back for a second round of interviews and additional screening. The final candidates are selected from that group.

9. How do they get notified?

Each applicant selected to become an astronaut receives a phone call from the head of the Flight Operations Directorate at our Johnson Space Center and the chief of the astronaut office. They’re asked to share the good news with only their immediate family until their selection has been officially announced.

10. How does the on boarding process work?

Astronaut candidates will report for duty at Johnson Space Center in August 2017, newly fitted flight suits in tow, and be sworn into civil service. Between their selection and their report for duty, they will make arrangements to leave their current positions and relocate with their family to Houston, Texas.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

archival-hogwash  asked:

Hi there! Big fan here, wondering if you'd be down to take on the "famous person is interviewed about when they were in love and HOLD UP IT'S their long-lost love" for RogueJedi (Bodhi Rook x Luke Skywalker)?

Oooh, a chance to write two of my favorite Space Disasters! Yes please! 

Also, you are the sweetest! (blushes) (throws a fic at you)

Bodhi was comfortable, sprawled out on the couch, feet up on the ottoman. He was  half-attending to his phone and half-watching the television when Jyn came out of the kitchen with a plate full of sandwiches and offered him one.

Bodhi took the sandwich. “You’re the best.”

“You know it.” Jyn sat down on the couch next to him, leaning against him slightly.

“Cassian is right there.” Bodhi said, gesturing at Jyn’s boyfriend seated at the kitchen table, head buried in his laptop.

“Well, I’m cold and you’re right here. Deal.” Jyn said.

The television droned in the background, “And next up we have Commander Luke Lars, with his new book ‘Skywalker.’ Commander Lars, it’s good to have you with us.”

Call me Luke, please.”

Keep reading


Is becoming a multi-planet species the only way to protect humanity from extinction? Is it ethical to colonise Mars before solving Earth’s problems? An astronaut candidate, solar physicist, and novelist debate whether humanity is ready to colonise the red planet. 

The Panel: 

Astronaut Candidates Report for Duty

Fourteen new Astronaut Candidates have reported to our Johnson Space Center in Houston for duty on Monday, Aug. 21! Two astronauts from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), along with our 12 new astronaut candidates arrived for their first day of work. We selected these 12 individuals from a record number of more than 18,000 applicants. 

This excited group of outstanding individuals will begin 2 years of training, along with 2 Canadian astronauts, in 5 key areas before being assigned to a mission.

What 5 areas? Let’s take a look…

1. Operate in T-38 Jets

Astronauts must be able to safely operate in the T-38 jets as either a pilot or back seater. 

2. Operate + Maintain the International Space Station

Astronauts learn to operate and maintain the complex systems aboard the International Space Station. Did you know they recycle their water there? Today’s coffee is…well, tomorrow’s coffee too. 

3. Learn How to Spacewalk

Or should we say waterwalk? Astronauts demonstrate the skills to complete complex spacewalk tasks in our Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. This 6.2 million gallon pool contains a mockup of the space station and is a close simulation to microgravity.

4. Learn to Operate a Robot

Astronauts train in Canada for 2 weeks to learn how to capture visiting vehicles and more with the space station’s Canadarm 2 robotic arm. 

5. Learn a Foreign Language

Astronauts must be fluent in both English and Russian, the two official languages on the International Space Station. 

But before they begin all this training…they had to report for duty…

This group reported for Johnson Space Center on eclipse day and was sworn in as NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Class of 2017.

They even got to experience the partial solar eclipse together, what a great first day!

Follow their training journey online by following @NASA_Astronauts on Twitter. 

Get to know them better and watch their individual interviews here:

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

So one of the things that cracks me up about Leverage is that Eliot is, as far as I can tell, good at everything. Like they’re like, “Okay Eliot, you have to handle X” and he’s like “[sigh] FINE” and then he owns it.

Thus far just off the top of my head he has been:

  • a gourmet chef
  • a star baseball player (when he DOESN’T EVEN LIKE BASEBALL)
  • a hit country singer/guitar player
  • knows a ton of languages
  • has a lot of weirdly specific trivial knowledge that reliably comes in useful
  • I’m sure in some future episode he will turn out to know how to race cars or breed shih tzus or something (I am only partway into season 3)

(even apart from his skill with beating people up and related hitter talents, which I am not counting because that is the premise of his character)

Plus also he is apparently irresistible to women, a trope that I normally find obnoxious but that I cannot really argue with in this case because I would find him sort of hard to resist. (Hardison is far, far more my type, but Eliot is hot. Also I have a weakness for men with long hair. Well, anybody with long hair really but especially men. I should put ‘having your hair look silky and glossy even after you’ve beaten up fifteen people’ on the list of skills above, I think. I would like to know what conditioner he uses.)

…And all this ought to make his character insufferable. And yet he isn’t. Because he is hands-down the most put-upon member of the team. He may technically be the hitter, but he’s also the one where people are like, “Eliot. You have a bag of jelly beans. Use that to convince them that you are an orca trainer and should be permitted in the tank with the angry Shamu” or “Eliot, we need you to pretend to be an Olympic snowboarder, you have ten minutes to find a snowboard, GO.” 

And then afterwards he puts his head down on the table and moans quietly to himself while getting surprisingly little respect for being able to yank expert cooking/singing/baseball/whatever skills out of his ass.

Oh, Eliot. This is why I want to give you five hundred hugs. 

(This is inspired by having just watched the episode where Eliot has to masquerade as a country music star and gets a fan club in like fifteen minutes. Mr Badger and I had this conversation:

Me: I have figured out who Eliot is.

Mr Badger: Who?

Me: Barbie.

Mr Badger: Elucidate?

Me: He is good at everything, apparently. And Barbie was, what, a doctor, a lawyer, a presidential candidate, an astronaut, a veterinarian–

Mr Badger: –and got shockingly little respect for it.

Me: And had beautiful hair.)

100 Days in Houston

A lot can happen in 100 days…

At our Johnson Space Center, located in Houston, it has been busy since July 10. Here are six things that have been going on in Houston with our astronauts, the International Space Station and our next great telescope! Take a look:

1. Our James Webb Space Telescope is Spending 100 Days in a Freezing Cold Chamber

Imagine seeing 13.5 billion light-years back in time, watching the birth of the first stars, galaxies evolve and solar systems form…our James Webb Space Telescope will do just that once it launches in 2019.

Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, studying every phase in the cosmic history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems.

On July 10, the Webb telescope entered Johnson Space Center’s historic Chamber A for its final cryogenic test that lasts about 100 days behind a closed giant vault-like door. 

Why did we put Webb in this freezing cold chamber? To ensure it can withstand the harsh environment it will experience in space.

The telescope has been in a space-like environment in the chamber, tested at cryogenic temperatures. In space, the telescope must operate at extremely cold temperatures so that it can detect infrared light – heat radiation – from faint, distant objects. 

To keep the telescope cold while in space, Webb has a sunshield the size of a tennis court, which blocks sunlight (as well as reflected light from the Earth and Moon). This means that the sun-facing side of the observatory is incredibly hot while the telescope-side remains at sub-freezing temperatures.

2. Our 12 new astronaut candidates reported to Houston to start training

Our newest class of astronaut candidates, which were announced on June 7, reported for training on August 13. These candidates will train for two years on International Space Station systems, space vehicles and Russian language, among many other skills, before being flight-ready. 

3. Our Mission Control Center operated for 2,400 hours

While astronauts are in space, Mission Control operates around the clock making sure the crew is safe and the International Space Station is functioning properly. This means workers in Mission Control work in three shifts, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., 3 p.m. – midnight and 11 p.m. – 8 a.m. This includes holidays and weekends. Day or night, Mission Control is up and running.

4. Key Teams at Johnson Space Center Continued Critical Operations During Hurricane Harvey

Although Johnson Space Center closed during Hurricane Harvey, key team members and critical personnel stayed onsite to ensure crucial operations would continue. Mission Control remained in operation throughout this period, as well as all backup systems required to maintain the James Webb Space Telescope, which is at Johnson for testing, were checked prior to the arrival of the storm, and were ready for use if necessary.

5. Crews on the International Space Station conducted hundreds of science experiments.

Mission Control at Johnson Space Center supported astronauts on board the International Space Station as they worked their typical schedule in the microgravity environment. Crew members work about 10 hours a day conducting science research that benefits life on Earth as well as prepares us for travel deeper into space. 

The space station team in Houston supported a rigorous schedule of launches of cargo that included supplies and science materials for the crew living and working in the orbiting laboratory, launched there by our commercial partners. 

6. Two new crews blasted off to space and a record breaking astronaut returned from a stay on space station

Houston is home to the Astronaut Corps, some of whom end up going out-of-this-world. On July 28, NASA Astronaut Randy Bresnik launched to the International Space Station alongside Italian astronaut Paolo Naspoli and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy. Joining them at the International Space Station were NASA Astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei who launched September 12 with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin.

When NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson landed with crewmates Jack Fischer of NASA and Fyoder Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, she broke the record for the most cumulative time in space by a U.S. astronaut. She landed with over 650 days of cumulative flight time and more than 53 hours of spacewalk time. Upon her return, the Human Research Program in Houston studies her health and how the human body adapted to her time in space.

Learn more about the Johnson Space Center online, or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

Into That Great, Black Night

Word count 1700

Characters  Sam, Dean, John & Mary

Summary   Overview of Sam’s life in a world where John and Mary never become hunters. 

Sam’s very first memory is from a summer when he was four years old. His family had moved from Kansas to Connecticut.

It’s not a fully formed memory, some of the details are hazy, but he can clearly remember his mom handing him the replica of the Space Shuttle Discovery. It was big and heavy in his hands and he could imagine it jetting up, up and away toward the stars.

That night the model replaced his teddy bear, resting on Sam’s pillow. From then on, it never left his side.

Keep reading

Astronaut candidate Eileen Collins during parachute ejection briefing 

(29-31 July 1990) – Eileen M. Collins, a USAF major and a candidate for a pilot astronaut’s position with NASA, listens to a briefing on parachute ejection. The classroom session was part of a three-day survival training course hosted by Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Photo credit: NASA

The NASA Village

Today in the NASA Village… So you want to be an astronaut?

The road to becoming an astronaut is as diverse as the NASA Village itself. Today’s astronauts come from varied career backgrounds.  NASA has recruited doctors, scientists, engineers, teachers and a veterinarian to serve as astronauts.

I had dreamed of being an astronaut since I was 9 years old when Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon.  It became a goal to be an astronaut when I graduated high school, because that was the first year they selected female astronauts.  After getting a Ph.D in Biochemistry, I applied for 10 years to become an astronaut before I was lucky enough to be selected to become an astronaut.  I was selected as part of the Astronaut Class of 1996 along with 34 other people, the largest NASA astronaut class so far.

If you get selected, you are given the title “astronaut candidate” or “ASCAN”.  Yes, it is pronounced like it looks!  As an ASCAN, you begin two years of intensive astronaut candidate training which includes team building, survival skills, and technical space systems training.

The technical training includes robotics instruction, how to perform spacewalks, operational training in T-38 Talon supersonic jet, language training, expeditionary crew skills, and specialized hardware and science instruction.

Andrew Morgan, shown with his classmate Nicole Mann, were part of the most recent Astronaut Class of 2013.

Andrew said “EVA (“spacewalk”) training is some of the most exciting training we do as astronauts.  Every training run in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory begins with several days of preparation.  One way we prepare is by making a SCUBA dive in the NBL to look at the ISS mock-up and study the components we will fix when we’re wearing the EMU (spacesuit).  By wearing standard SCUBA equipment we have a little more freedom of motion to look around and it helps us become familiar with the part of ISS where we will work when we wear the spacesuit underwater.”

Andrew and Nicole just recently completed ASCAN training and earned their astronaut wings.  It is the culmination of a lifetime of dedication and perseverance to reach that goal. Their new job duties include support of mission operations and technical duties while awaiting their spaceflight assignments, which might take 1-5 years.  Once assigned to a mission, you have another 2 ½ years of intensive training for that mission.

What are your odds of becoming an astronaut you may wonder? Nicole and Drew were 2 people selected from 6300 applicants that year.  But don’t let the odds discourage you, you will never become an astronaut if you don’t try.

I had the privilege of being a member of the 2004 Astronaut Selection Board, and I chaired the 2009 Astronaut Selection Board. I am always so impressed with the caliber and quality of people who apply.

The basic requirements for becoming an astronaut are straight forward:

1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. (Quality of academic preparation is important and the higher education you have the more likely your chance of success).

2. Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. (Teaching experience is considered to be qualifying experience for the Astronaut Candidate position).

3. You will need to pass the NASA long-duration space flight physical (rigorous would be a complementary discriptor of all the tests that have to be passed).  Because we are going on longer duration missions, 6 months or more, we want to ensure the astronauts are in good health and won’t encounter any serious medical issues in space. And, you want to be in good shape to help minimize bone and muscle loss, and also to be able to do spacewalks. It takes a LOT of upper body strength to work in the space suits for 6-7 hours!

Some other factors that the selection board would consider include a genuine appreciation and love of the spaceflight program, a team-based orientation, language skills, organizational skills, and an ability to communicate a spirit of discovery.  And, since astronauts will be spending more time in space than ever before, it’s crucial that candidates can interact with people from diverse backgrounds, demonstrate they have skills outside a lab environment, and are good with their hands for operational tasks.

The best advice is to follow your passion! We need a diverse range of people and skills to make our team successful! So pursue your hobbies and be the best you can be in the areas that interest you!

If you are ready to apply, YOU ARE IN LUCK!  NASA recently announced that they will begin accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates December 14, 2015 through mid-February 2016.  

This is your chance!  No matter the odds, if it is your dream you should try, and try, and try again.

Next time on the NASA Village… Map my brain.

Do you want more stories?  Find our NASA Villagers here!

Answer Time with NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a NASA astronaut? On Thursday, Oct. 29, NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson will answer your questions! She’ll explain how it takes the NASA Village to help train for her mission to space, what the challenges of living in space are and what it’s like to be a NASA astronaut.

Enter your questions here. The Answer Time begins at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 29.

Fun facts about NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson:

  • Astronaut Whitson was selected as an Astronaut Candidate in April 1996, and started training in August of the same year.
  • After completing two years of training and evaluation, she served as the lead for the Crew Test Support Team in Russia from 1998 to 1999.
  • Astronaut Whitson completed two six-month tours of duty aboard the International Space Station.
  • She has accumulated 377 days in space between two missions, which is the most for any woman.
  • Astronaut Whitson has performed a total of six career spacewalks, adding up to 39 hours and 46 minutes! She is also one of only a handful of people to perform spacewalks in both Russian and US spacesuits.
  • She is scheduled to launch in late 2016 as part of the Expedition 50/51.
  • Firsts:
    • Science Officer of the International Space Station
    • Female Commander for the International Space Station
    • Female to serve as Chief of the Astronaut Office

Follow her on social media to see how it takes a NASA Village to train her for her upcoming mission: Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter

this love left a permanent mark

pairing: Chris Beck/Mark Watney
fandom: The Martian
rating: PG-13
note: title taken from this love by taylor swift. i love soulmate au’s, they’re my jam tbh, tho apparently i’m incapable of making a soulmate au that isn’t angsty in some way. also i’ll probably (definitely) write more of these in the future, and not just for beckwantey but for the mars trio too :D i hope you guys enjoy! x 

on AO3


Mark Watney was born a Blank.

Less than 10 percent of the world’s populations are born without words. Less than 5 percent of those same Blanks later become Worded, and no one is really sure what causes the discrepancy.

So when Mark’s mother sees her son’s blank skin she despairs.

How will Mark get through his life knowing that he doesn’t have a partner to look forward to? That compared to 90 percent of the world’s population, he’ll never find true love?

The doctor gives her the statistics, how being a Blank in this day in age doesn’t have the negative connotation is did even a few decades ago. How Blanks are still able to find healthy, loving relationships. They’re even able to get married now!

Ms. Watney doesn’t listen to him though; all she can see is the blank skin of her son’s wrists and imagine how his future will be painted as a result of it.


Chris Beck is born with Words on his wrist.

His mother rubs her thumb over the pale skin of her son’s wrist and traces the script with her eyes.

‘So did you get lost too or was that just me?’ is scrawled messily, and she can’t help but wonder what type of person her son’s soulmate will be. How they’ll compliment her son and how the two of them will fit into each other’s life.

What situation they could be in that results in the words printed forevermore on her son’s skin.

She holds her son close as she thinks about the life he has ahead of him, and hopes that whatever happens, his soulmate will be there.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

okay okay okay L I S T E N: post-the martian au with professor mark watney and astronaut candidate chris beck. chris' mind is 50% on the lesson, 50% on about how fucking hot and brave and smart professor watney is.

A million and one years later, but I’m totally listening. Feel free to tell me more anytime.

The thing is… It’s hard, ok? This becoming an astronaut business. Chris will concede this is sort of a stupid tautology. Interplanetary space travel is hard. Manned interplanetary space is really very hard, and a fleeting fancy for extraterrestrial adventures won’t be enough to get you sent to Mars.

Keep reading