NASA Introduces 10 New Astronaut Candidates

From left, Nichole Ayers, Christopher Williams, Luke Delaney, Jessica Wittner, Anil Menon, Marcos Berríos, Jack Hathaway, Christina Birch, Deniz Burnham and Andre Douglas. (Credit…Robert Markowitz/NASA)

NASA on Monday inaugurated 10 new astronaut candidates who could walk on the moon within the next decade, or carry out research on the International Space Station.

The new astronaut candidate class is NASA’s 23rd since 1959, when seven astronauts were picked by the military for Project Mercury, the first American human spaceflight program. The latest astronaut candidate group comes as NASA prepares for its most daunting challenges in space since Americans landed on the moon during the Apollo program of the 1960s and ’70s. The agency’s growing focus is on Artemis, its program to return astronauts to the moon.

“Today we welcome 10 new explorers, 10 members of the Artemis generation,” Bill Nelson, the NASA administrator, said on a stage during an indoor ceremony at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, near NASA’s astronaut headquarters, the Johnson Space Center. The remarks of Mr. Nelson and other speakers were interrupted a few times by a heavy thunderstorm outdoors.

“Alone, each of these candidates certainly has the right stuff, but together, they represent exactly the creed of our country — e pluribus unum — out of many, one,” Mr. Nelson added.

The 10 astronaut candidates for 2021 are:

  • Nichole Ayers, Divide, Colo.;

  • Marcos Berríos, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico;

  • Christina Birch, Gilbert, Ariz.;

  • Deniz Burnham, Wasilla, Alaska;

  • Luke Delaney, DeBary, Fla.;

  • Andre Douglas, Chesapeake, Va.;

  • Jack Hathaway, South Windsor, Conn.;

  • Anil Menon, Minneapolis;

  • Christopher Williams, Potomac, Md.;

  • Jessica Wittner, Clovis, Calif.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Joey Roulette