Most Recent Class of NASA Astronauts Consists of 50% Women
NEW WOMEN ASTRONAUTS SELECTED
For the first time in history NASA selected women astronaut candidates as 50 percent of its newest class of astronauts. NASA announced the 2013 class of astronauts on June 17th during a Google + “hangout” broadcast live on NASA TV one day before the 30th anniversary of the first American woman in space—Sally Ride.
As part of that broadcast, IWASM, through our twitter account, @WomenintheAir, asked whether that percentage was a deliberate decision by NASA or happenstance.
NASA astronaut Janet Kavandi, Director of Flight Crew Operations and the person in charge of the selections, said “it was not by choice to take 50 percent women,” but these were the most qualified people. Kavandi said “it just turned out to be half men and half women.” She added that these astronaut candidates had tremendous qualifications.
Of the 6,372 applicants (the second most ever for a NASA class), 4200 qualified applicants made it through the first cut, then there were 404 highly qualified applicants and 100 applicants who were interviewed at Johnson Space Center. Only eight astronaut candidates were selected. The four women are:
The new astronaut candidates will begin training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in August. Kavandi said that three of the eight candidates had interviewed to become an astronaut before and the rest were interviewed for the first time. She also said that each person is “chock full of talent” and comfortable in different countries and cultures as many are scientists who have deployed to extreme environments and experienced uncomfortable physical conditions. In addition, Kavandi explained that all these astronaut candidates had common personality traits of persistence, determination and passion.