Welcome, Space Cadets! Meet NASA's 2017 Astronaut Class

The Chosen Few


Out of the record-breaking over 18,300 applications from across the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa, these 12 men and women stood out above the rest and became the 2017 NASA astronaut class announced on June 7. They join an elite group of only 350 to be chosen since 1959 and the original Mercury 7.

What's It Like to Become an Astronaut?: 10 Facts

Here's a little bit about each of the future space explorers.

FIRST STOP: Lt. Kayla Barron

Lt. Kayla Barron

Originally from Richland, Washington, Kayla Barron graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. in systems engineering. As a Gates Cambridge Scholar, Baron attended the University of Cambridge, earning a master's degree in nuclear engineering. Barron is 29 and a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, where as a submarine warfare officer, she was a member of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community. She joins NASA from the U.S. Naval Academy, where she has been the flag aide to the superintendent.

Read Kayla Barron's full NASA biography.

NEXT: Zena Cardman

Zena Cardman


Though she hails from Williamsburg, Virginia, and is currently working toward her doctorate as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Penn State, Zena Cardman earned a B.S. in Biology and Master of Sciences at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Cardman's research focuses on microorganisms in subsurface environments from deep sea sediments to caves. At 29, her field experience includes Antarctic expeditions, work on research vessels and multiple NASA analog missions.

Read Zena Cardman's full NASA biography.

NEXT: Lt. Col. Raja Chari

Lt. Col. Raja Chari


From Waterloo, Iowa, Raja Chari received two B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy: one in astronautical engineering and another in engineering science. The 39-year-old Lieutenant Colonel then moved to MIT, earning a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics as well as graduating from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Chari comes to NASA from Edwards Air Force Base in California where he's been serving as the commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force.

Read Raja Chari's full NASA biography.

NEXT: Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick


This 35-year-old Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy is a native of Wheat Ridge, Colorado. After earning a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of San Diego, Matthew Dominick went on to the Naval Postgraduate School garnering a Master of Science in systems engineering. Dominick graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and went to sea on the USS Ronald Reagan as department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115.

Read Matthew Dominick's full NASA biography.

NEXT: Bob Hines

Bob Hines


From a hometown of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Bob Hines earned a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Boston University and then graduated from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. The 42-year-old pursued and earned a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama. A part of the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves for the last 18 years, Hines has flown as a NASA research pilot at Johnson Space Center for the last five years.

Read Bob Hines' full NASA biography.

NEXT: Warren "Woody" Hoburg

Warren "Woody" Hoburg


Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Woody Hoburg graduated from MIT with a B.S. in aeronautics and astronautics. Hoburg, 31, then went to the University of California, Berkley and earned a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science. As a private pilot, he has wilderness search and rescue experience. Currently Hoburg is an assistant professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.

Read Warren Hoburg's full NASA biography here.

NEXT: Dr. Jonny Kim

Dr. Jonny Kim


Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Dr. Jonny Kim, 33, enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a Navy SEAL. In this capacity he completed over 100 combat operations, earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat V. Kim, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, also received a degree in mathematics from the University of San Diego and earned a doctorate of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Kim comes to NASA from Massachusetts General Hospital where his is a resident physician in emergency medicine.

Read Jonny Kim's full NASA biography here.

NEXT: Robb Kulin

Robb Kulin


Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Robb Kulin attended the University of Denver, earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, and then completed a master's degree in materials science as well as a doctorate in engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Kulin, 33, worked as an ice driller on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Taylor Glaciers as well as a commercial fisherman. Kulin has been with SpaceX since 2011, leading the Launch Chief Engineering group.

Read Space.com's Exclusive Interview with Robb Kulin!

Read Robb Kulin's full NASA biography here.

NEXT: Major Jasmin Moghbeli

Major Jasmin Moghbeli


This 33-year-old Major in the U.S. Marine Corps earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering with information technology from MIT. Jasmin Moghbeli, from Baldwin, New York, then went on to the Naval Postgraduate School, completing a master's degree in aerospace engineering. From the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Moghbeli earned the title of distinguished graduate. At present she serves as the quality assurance and avionics officer for Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1, and tests H-1 helicopters, in Yuma, Arizona.

Read Jasmin Moghbeli's full NASA biography here.

NEXT: Loral O'Hara

Loral O'Hara


From Sugar Land, Texas, Loral O'Hara joins NASA from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods, Hole Massachusetts. O'Hara, 34, attended the University of Kansas and earned a B.S. in aerospace engineering and then a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue University. During her time as a student, O'Hara took part in NASA's KC-135 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program and the NASA Academy at Goddard Space Flight Center. She also interned at NASA's JPL.

Read Loral O'Hara's full NASA biography here.

NEXT: Dr. Francisco "Frank" Rubio

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