On June 7th, and after receiving a record- breaking number of applications to join one of the most exciting future space explorations, NASA has finally announced its 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. Rising to the top of more than 18,300 applicants, NASA chose 12 candidates; among them, 5 are women and I even though I do not know them, and they do not even know I exist, I just can feel proud of them and their amazing skills, knowledge and experiences that have taken them until one of the highest achievements any scientific can have. The following are brief descriptions of these 5 incredible female astronaut candidates, who will represent us as women during an intense two- year training and evaluation program, that will allow them to conquer the universe.
Jasmin Moghbeli is an Iranian- American astronaut candidate, who followed her space passions since at least the sixth grade when she was asked to write a book report about someone she truly admired; then she chose Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman in space). Her academic pursuits were successfully fueled as she worked toward her Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology at MIT, another academic achievement for Jasmin was her Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. This rocket woman is also a Marian Corps major, and was decorated for flying Cobra gunships on a 150combat missions in Afghanistan.
Loral O’Hara is native from Houston, Texas; therefore, the Johnson Space Center was one of those places she had just around the corner. O’Hara is a private pilot, a certified EMT and wilderness first responder. Moreover, Loral O’ Hara earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas, and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. As a student, she has participated in NASA’s KC-135 Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program, as well as the NASA Academy at the Goddard Space Flight Center. According to NASA official website, O’Hara will be one of the members who were selected that will take two years of training as an astronaut candidate, she will be assigned to develop technical duties in the Astronaut Office while she awaits s flight assignment. This rocket woman may actually end up riding commercial rockets to the International Space Station.
Zena Cardman is a young woman, whose space goals are inspired by many space heroes including the likes of Ms. Frizzle. Cardman earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; among her amazing achievements so far there are: multiple Antarctic expeditions and NASA analog missions in British Columbia, Idaho, and Hawaii. Zena has been selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class, and after knowing this the Virginia native was ecstatic, she said this during a press conference. In addition, Cardman earns interesting experiences, as her researchers focus on microorganisms in subsurface environments, ranging from caves to deep see sediments. This rocket woman may end up flying beyond the moon in NASA’s Orion spacecraft.
She always knew that she wanted to be an astronaut, that’s what she said in an interview with Swapna Krishna. Watkins was born in Gaithersburg, Maryland, however she considers Lafayette, Colorado her hometown; graduated from Stanford University, Jessica completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Geological and Environmental Science, as well as a Doctorate in Geology from the University of California, Los Angeles. This astronaut candidate is no stranger to NASA as she has previously worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But, it is worth mention that sciences are not all that surround Watkins’s life, she was also a member of the USA Rugby Women’s Seven National Team. Her rugby team actually participated in the semi- finals at the 2009 Women’s Sevens world cup in Dubai; I believe this woman is the right example to show that there is nothing girls cannot do. As her other partners, this rocket woman can also end up riding commercial rockets to the International Space Station, and her ultimate destination could be Mars.
Kayla Barron is one of the most competitive astronaut candidates, she was born in Washington. After graduating from the US Naval Academy with a Bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering, and after completing a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Cambridge, her goal was not becoming an astronaut at the very beginning. In fact, she decided to pursue a gig as a Submarine Warfare Officer, thus she became a member of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community. It wasn’t until after toying with the idea of applying to NASA for a few weeks, that she made the decision and start pursuing the opportunity to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. Barron is one of the five female astronaut candidates, and she has a great message for any girls; she encourages all of them to expand that number, especially those who are interested in science, technology, engineering or math fields. “To learn how to fail and move on from failure. You have to risk failure in order to be successful” she said in an interview to Fortune magazine.