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May 6, 2004

Melissa Mathews/Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

Doug Peterson
Johnson Space Center, Houston

Release: #H04-152


NASA's 2004 astronaut candidate class was introduced today during Space Day activities at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va.

"These are the astronauts who will lead us through the next steps in the new exploration vision," NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said. "The class is made up of pilots and engineers who will help us develop the next generation vehicle, scientists who will do research to help humans live and travel in space and three new educator astronauts to help ensure a new generation is ready for the challenges of exploration," he said.

The new astronaut candidates:

Mission Specialist-Educator Joseph Acaba, 36, of Dunnellon, Fla.; math and science teacher at Dunnellon Middle School; born in Inglewood, Ca. Acaba has degrees from the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Arizona. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and also managed a research station in the Bahamas.

Mission Specialist-Educator Richard Arnold, 40, of Berlin, Md.; currently lives in Bucharest, Romania; math and science teacher at the American International School of Bucharest; born in Cheverly, Md. and raised in Bowie, Md. Arnold has degrees from Frostburg State University, Md., and the University of Maryland. Arnold has also taught in Morocco, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.

Pilot Randolph Bresnik, Major, U.S. Marine Corps, 36, an F/A-18 pilot and experimental test pilot based in San Diego, Calif.; born in Fort Knox, Ky. Bresnik has degrees from The Citadel, S.C., and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is getting married this month in a Scottish castle.

Mission Specialist Christopher Cassidy, Lt. Cmdr., U.S. Navy, 34; Navy SEAL based in Norfolk, Va.; born in Salem, Mass.; raised in York, Maine. He has degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mass. Cassidy completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan and earned a Bronze Star.

Pilot James Dutton, Major, U.S. Air Force, 35; an F/A-22 test pilot stationed in Edwards, Calif.; born and raised in Eugene, Ore. Dutton has degrees from the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Washington. During the 1990s, Dutton flew combat air patrols over northern Iraq.

Mission Specialist Jose Hernandez, 41, of Houston; engineer and branch chief at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC); born in French Camp, Calif.; grew up as a migrant farm worker before settling in Stockton, Calif. Hernandez has degrees from the University of the Pacific and the University of California at Santa Barbara. His work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the 1990s contributed to a new tool for early breast cancer detection.

Mission Specialist R. Shane Kimbrough, 36, Major, U.S. Army, of Houston; flight simulation engineer at JSC; born in Killeen, Tex.; considers Atlanta his hometown. Kimbrough has degrees from the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Kimbrough was captain of the baseball team at USMA. He served as a platoon leader in an Apache attack helicopter company during Desert Storm.

Mission Specialist Thomas Marshburn, M.D., 43, of Houston; flight surgeon at JSC; born in Statesville, N.C.; raised in Atlanta. He has degrees from Davidson College, N.C.; the University of Virginia; Wake Forest University, N.C.; and the University of Texas Medical Branch. Marshburn is an avid mountain climber and has a private pilot's license.

Mission Specialist-Educator Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, 28, of Vancouver, Wash.; science teacher at Hudson's Bay High School; born in Colorado Springs, Co. and raised in Fort Collins, Co. Metcalf-Lindenburger graduated from Whitman College, Wash. She is a cross-country coach and marathon runner. She was a champion runner in college.

Mission Specialist Robert Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., 38, of Oak Park, Ill.; orthopedic surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago; raised in Hampton, Va. Satcher has degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and from Harvard University. He performs research in muscular-skeletal oncology and has done charity medical work overseas.

Mission Specialist Shannon Walker, Ph.D., 38, of Houston; a manager at JSC overseeing the technical health of the International Space Station; born and raised in Houston. Walker has three degrees from Rice University. She has lived in worked in Russia, supporting the Space Station program. She is an avid private pilot.

"With the new exploration vision, human space flight is really moving into its next era," said NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight William Readdy. "Members of this class have terrific experience behind them already, and we're thrilled to have their smarts and skills to help us move forward," he said.

"We are especially excited to welcome our three new educator astronauts," said NASA Associate Administrator for Education, Dr. Adena Loston. "They will help inspire a new generation of explorers."

NASA TV will feed video of the astronaut class beginning at noon EDT today. The Video File will include sound bites and b-roll of the class members. NASA TV is available on AMC-9, transponder 9C, C-Band, located at 85 degrees west longitude. The frequency is 3880.0 MHz. Polarization is vertical, and audio is monaural at 6.80 MHz.

Full biographies and still photos of the astronaut candidates will be available at:

For more information about Space Day 2004, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:


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