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NASA Selects Nine New Astronauts for Future Space Exploration

HOUSTON – After reviewing more than 3,500 applications, NASA has selected nine people for the 2009 astronaut candidate class. They will begin training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston this August.
“This is a very talented and diverse group we’ve selected,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “They will join our current astronauts and play very important roles for NASA in the future. In addition to flying in space, astronauts participate in every aspect of human spaceflight, sharing their expertise with engineers and managers across the country. We look forward to working with them as we transcend from the shuttle to our future exploration of space, and continue the important engineering and scientific discoveries aboard the International Space Station.”
The new astronaut candidates are:
Serena M. Aunon, 33, of League City, Texas; University of Texas Medical Branch flight surgeon for NASA’s Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs; born in Indianapolis. Aunon holds degrees from George Washington University, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston and the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Jeanette J. Epps, 38, of Fairfax, Va.; technical intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. Born in Syracuse, N.Y., Epps holds degrees from LeMoyne College in Syracuse and the University of Maryland.
Jack D. Fischer, major, U.S. Air Force, 35, of Reston, Va.; test pilot; U.S. Air Force Strategic Policy intern, Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon. Born in Boulder, Colo., Fischer is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Co., and MIT.
Michael S. Hopkins, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Air Force, 40, of Alexandria, Va.; special assistant to the Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon. Born in Lebanon, Mo., Hopkins holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Stanford University.
Kjell N. Lindgren, 36, of League City, Texas; University of Texas Medical Branch flight surgeon for NASA’s Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Lindgren has degrees from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado State University, the University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota and the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Kathleen (Kate) Rubins, 30, of Cambridge, Mass.; principal investigator and fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT. Born in Farmington, Conn., Rubins conducts research trips to the Congo and has degrees from the University of California-San Diego and Stanford University.
Scott D. Tingle, commander, U.S. Navy, 43, of Hollywood, Md.; test pilot and assistant program manager-Systems Engineering at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Born in Attleboro, Mass., Tingle holds degrees from Southeastern Massachusetts University (now the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth) and Purdue University.
Mark T. Vande Hei, lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army, 42, of El Lago, Texas; flight controller for the International Space Station at the Johnson Space Center as part of the U.S. Army NASA Detachment. Born in Falls Church, Va., Vande Hei is a graduate of Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., and Stanford University.
Gregory R. (Reid) Wiseman, lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy, 33, of Virginia Beach, Va.; test pilot; department head, Strike Fighter Squadron 103, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, in Oceana, Va. Born in Baltimore, Wiseman is a graduate of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Johns Hopkins University.
For more on each astronaut candidates, their photos and details on the astronaut selection process, visit:

NASA Television’s daily Video File will include B-roll of astronaut training and photos of each astronaut candidate beginning today. For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit:

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

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Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington

Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters
Johnson Space Center, Houston