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2004 Astronaut Candidate
Randy Bresnik, Pilot

Astronaut Candidate Randy Bresnik Randy Bresnik had been hoping that his next assignment as a U.S. Marine Corps test pilot would be to test a next-generation aircraft. To be selected to help develop a next-generation spacecraft instead, he says, "Holy smokes! That's a dream."

Bresnik, a Marine major, is currently a F/A-18 pilot with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at MCAS Miramar in San Diego, California. He is approaching 3000 hours of flight experience, including a recent tour in the war in Iraq. "We were there from before day one until the president declared an official end to hostilities," he says.

Image left: 2004 Astronaut Candidate Randy Bresnik. Photo credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center.

Bresnik says that he and his dad, a former military pilot in Vietnam, used to build models together when he was a child, including a model of a Gemini capsule with a spacewalker tethered outside. "As a kid, flying in space seems so impossible," he says.

But for a grown-up Bresnik, it is becoming a reality. He is one of two people selected to train as pilot astronauts in the 2004 astronaut candidate class, an assignment that could include development and testing work on the Crew Exploration Vehicle. He reports for training this summer at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

He was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky but moved to southern California when he was just two weeks old. Bresnik graduated from Santa Monica High School before attending The Citadel, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in mathematics. He also holds a Master's degree in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Growing up in Santa Monica, Bresnik was the only boy in a family with four children. "I had a number of people in my life -- great teachers -- who were pretty influential. I remember a 6th grade teacher, a guidance counselor in junior high, a music teacher in college, all of whom went above and beyond. I've been thinking about them. Would they believe it for a moment that I've been selected to train as an astronaut?"


AGE: 36

BORN: Fort Knox, Kentucky

EDUCATION: BS, Mathematics, The Citadel, 1989; MS, Aviation Systems, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 2002

CURRENT JOB: Operations Officer, F/A-18 Pilot, MCAS Miramar, San Diego, CA

QUICK FACT: Is getting married in May in a castle in Scotland.

QUOTE: "What I hope to accomplish is to contribute to the NASA team. What more exciting thing can you do?"

Bresnik, 36, is getting married at a castle in Scotland in May to a civilian lawyer he met while she was working at the Pentagon. "She's an extraordinary woman. She stuck with me when I got deployed for the war," he says. "We got engaged last July on a boat in the middle of a lake in Idaho."

Bresnik says he is looking forward to helping to fulfill the new Vision for Space Exploration. "What I hope to accomplish is to contribute to the NASA team," he says. "What more exciting thing can you do?"