NASA has announced its class of 2017 and five out of 12 of the candidates are women.
Kayla Barron, Zena Cardman, Jasmin Moghbell, Loral O’Hara and Jessica Watkins were all selected in NASA’s largest astronaut class since 2000.
All the astronauts have a background and experience within the STEM industry. Barron graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering; Cardman completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Marine Sciences; Moghbell served in the Marine Corp and earned a degree in aerospace engineering with information technology; O’Hara also has a degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics; and Watkins has a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences.
During an event, Vice President Mike Pence joined NASA leaders to introduce the members of the 2017 astronaut class.
Pence said, “These are 12 men and women whose personal excellence and whose personal courage will carry our nation to even greater heights of discovery and who I know will inspire our children and our grandchildren every bit as much as your forebears have done so in this storied American program.”
NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said, “We look forward to the energy and talent of these astronauts fueling our exciting future of discovery.”
“Between expanding the crew on board the space station to conduct more research than ever before, and making preparations to send humans farther into space than we’ve ever been, we are going to keep them busy.”
“These candidates are an important addition to the NASA family and the nation’s human spaceflight team.”
Johnson Space Center Director, Ellen Ochoa added, “These women and men deserve our enthusiastic congratulations.”
“Children all across the United States right now dream of being in their shoes someday.”
“We here at NASA are excited to welcome them to the team and look forward to working with them to inspire the next generation of explorers.”