NASA’s New Astronauts, The Turtles, Joins Artemis-Era Missions

NASA’s 22nd astronaut class, the Turtles, is posing at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, 10 Jan, 2020.

The class includes eleven astronauts from NASA and three astronauts from the Canadian Space Agency. The 13 astronauts are eligible to participate in International Space Station missions, Artemis moon missions and even manned Mars missions.

There are six women in the group, and seven men. The Canadian Space Agency contains two candidates. The remaining 11 NASA candidates were selected from an initial pool of over 18,000 candidates.

These candidates will be eligible for space flight after more than two years of basic training, including assignments to the ISS, Artemis Missions to the Moon, and ultimately missions to Mars.

To become astronauts, Candidates trained in robotics; systems used on board space station; exercises simulating spacewalking; flying T-38 jets; and learning Russian language.

NASA’s Newest Astronauts

In the front row (from left) are, new astronauts Jonny Kim, Jessica Watkins, Kayla Barron, Jasmin Moghbeli, Loral O’Hara, Zena Cardman and Raja Chari and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Jeremy Hansen. In the back row (from left) are, Chief of the Astronuat Office Patrick Forrester, Johnson Space Center Director Mark Geyer, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, new astronauts Joshua Kutryk, Jenni Sidey-Gibbon and Frank Rubio, Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, new astronauts Matthew Dominick, Bob Hines and Warren Hoburg, Johnson Space Center Deputy Director Vanessa Wyche and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman. (NASA)

Jessica Watkins

A 31-year-old, worked at NASA before becoming an astronaut. She’s from Lafayette, Colorado, and earned a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences as well as a doctorate in geology. Watkins worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. She’s also worked on the Curiosity rover during her time at the California Institute of Technology.


Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons

A 31-year-old, is the second Canadian Space Agency candidate, and an assistant professor in combustion at the University of Cambridge. She is from Calgary, Alberta and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering as well as a doctorate in engineering. While in school, she worked on research regarding flame propagation in microgravity.


Francisco Rubio

A 44-year-old, is a US Army lieutenant colonel from Miami, Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a doctorate of medicine. He previously served as a surgeon and a Blackhawk helicopter pilot during combat.


Loral O’Hara

A 36-year-old, is a research engineer from Houston, Texas, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics. O’Hara engineered, tested and operated deep-sea submersibles and robots at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.


Jasmin Moghbeli

A 36-year-old, is a US Marine Corps major from Baldwin, New York, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with information technology and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. She also graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School and tested H-1 helicopters.


Joshua Kutryk

A 37-year-old, is one of the Canadian Space Agency candidates and a Royal Canadian Air Force lieutenant colonel from Beauvalion, Alberta. Kutryk earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and master’s degrees in space studies, defense studies and flight test engineering. He was previously a fighter pilot and experimental test pilot.


Dr. Jonny Kim

A 36-year-old, is a US Navy lieutenant and resident physician in emergency medicine from Los Angeles. Kim received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate of medicine. Kim was also a Navy SEAL who served during more than 100 combat missions, earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat V (with valor).

See Also


Warren Hoburg

A 34-year-old, is a commercial pilot from Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics and a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science. He previously served the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit and Yosemite Search and Rescue. Hoburg was also an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.


Bob Hines

A 44-year-old, is a US Air Force lieutenant colonel from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in flight test engineering. He was also a developmental test pilot on F-15 models while working on his master’s in aerospace engineering. Hines was also deployed during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.


Matthew Dominick

A 38-year-old, is a US Navy lieutenant commander from Wheat Ridge, Colorado, with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in systems engineering. Like Chari, he also graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.


Raja Chari

A 42-year-old, is a US Air Force colonel from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with bachelor’s degrees in astronautical engineering and engineering science as well as a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics. Chari also graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.


Zena Cardman

A 32-year-old, is from Williamsburg, Virginia, and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in marine sciences from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Cardman’s research includes microorganisms found in environments like caves or even deep sea sediments, and she has conducted several expeditions to Antarctica.


Kayla Barron

Kayla Barron, a 32-year-old, is a US Navy lieutenant from Richland, Washington, with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering and a master’s degree in nuclear engineering. Barron also served as a submarine war officer.

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