Indian-American Raja Chari among 12 astronauts chosen for NASA training
Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari is among 12 chosen from 18,300 applicants for training by NASA for specialized missions.
The seven-men-five-women team will be trained for missions into deep space and Earth orbit. This is the 22nd batch of American spaceflight trainees since 1959, the largest in two decades.
The number of applicants this time was also the highest for an open astronaut call.
Lt Col Chari, 39, hails from Waterloo, Iowa. He has a Master's from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and has graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School. He is the director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at California's Edwards Air Force Base.
Candidates to be assigned to various missions after two-year course
The selection criteria for this training are more than NASA's minimum requirements: there were terms for educational qualification (Bachelor's in a STEM field), experience (1,000 hours of piloting jets), and more.
After the two-year training, candidates will be assigned to a diverse range of missions, including research on the International Space Station, and deep space missions on the Orion and Space Launch System rocket.
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Details about the team
The 12-member team has a NASA research pilot, a lead engineer at SpaceX, two doctors, three scientists and six military officers. Candidates, ranging from 28 years to 42 years, come from Colorado, Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, Arizona, Massachusetts, Texas and more.
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