NASA celebrated its newest class of graduating astronauts recently. The space agency went with organizing a public ceremony in Houston. At the event, six women and men were honored for their work and results in projects such as America’s return to the Moon and a trip to Mars.
Dressed in blue flight jumpsuits, they received their gold pins like Mercury 7 astronauts first got theirs back in 1959. The class dubbed the “Turtles” of astronauts got engaged in more than two years of basic training.
“They are the best of the best: They are highly qualified and very diverse, and they represent all of America,” announced NASA’s, Jim Bridenstine.
A Successful Class of Astronauts
Selections began back in 2017, and the class succeeded in finishing a training schedule in spacewalking at NASA’s underwater Neutral Buoyancy Lab, the systems of the ISS, robotics, and piloting the T-38 jet. They also enjoyed a Russian language course.
Other courses included studying the building blocks of the Artemis program, such as the Orion crew capsule, the Space Launch System rocket, and the gateway space station. More significantly, the class is the first to graduate since the space agency confirmed the Artemis project to send a man and first woman to the Moon’s south pole in 2024.
The class included five people of color, such as the first Iranian-American astronaut, Jasmin Moghbeli, Jessica Watkins, a geologist who follows only a handful of black women to finish the program.
Astronauts represent the essential members in the development of a spacecraft. The current class will join the ranks of almost 500 people so far who have realized a trip into space. The 11 US astronauts make the total number of NASA’s astronauts up to 48.
The diversity, however, is one key factor that makes space exploration so intriguing. For example, Sally Ride was the first American woman in space back in 1983, while Guion Bluford, the first black man. Also, we got Frank Rubio, a medical doctor, Raja Chari, an Air Force colonel, and Jonny Kim, a NAVY SEAL.