By Eliott Rodriguez

MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — NASA graduated its first class of Artemis generation astronauts at Johnson Space Center in Houston Friday including Dr. Francisco Rubio from Miami.

Dr. Rubio is a US Army lieutenant colonel with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a doctorate of medicine. He previously served as a surgeon and a Blackhawk helicopter pilot during combat. He graduated from Miami Sunset Senior High.

Rubio and the rest of his class completed more than two years of basic training before graduation.

Astronaut Frank Rubio of Miami. (Source: NASA)

They are eligible for assignments to the International Space Station and Artemis missions to the moon.

The Artemis program plans to send astronauts back to the moon by 2024, which will include the first woman to walk on the moon.

They are also eligible for missions to Mars.

“Today, 13 men and women from NASA and our partners at the Canadian Space Agency are graduating from their basic training and joining the active astronaut corps. They represent the first wave of NASA’s Artemis generation astronauts,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.  “2020 will mark the return of human spaceflight launches with American astronauts on American rockets from American soil. It will also be an important year of progress for our Artemis program, our mandate to return to the moon and to get ready for Mars.”

The group of 13 who graduated includes six women and seven men. Two candidates are from the Canadian Space Agency. The other 11 NASA candidates were selected from an initial pool of more than 18,000 applicants.

As part of the process to become astronauts, the candidates trained in robotics; systems used aboard the space station; exercises that simulate spacewalking; flying T-38 jets; and learning the Russian language due to NASA’s partnership with Roscosmos for launches to the space station and talking to Russian astronauts aboard the ISS.

In addition to being eligible for spaceflight, the astronauts will also support those who are currently in the space station and develop spacecraft for future missions.

Meet the astronauts

Kayla Barron is a US Navy lieutenant from Richland, Washington, with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering and a master’s degree in nuclear engineering. Barron also served as a submarine war officer.

Zena Cardman is from Williamsburg, Virginia, and holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in marine sciences from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Cardman’s research includes microorganisms found in environments like caves or even deep sea sediments, and she has conducted several expeditions to Antarctica.

Raja Chari is a US Air Force colonel from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with bachelor’s degrees in astronautical engineering and engineering science as well as a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics. Chari also graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.

Matthew Dominick is a US Navy lieutenant commander from Wheat Ridge, Colorado, with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in systems engineering. Like Chari, he also graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.

Bob Hines is a US Air Force lieutenant colonel from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in flight test engineering. He was also a developmental test pilot on F-15 models while working on his master’s in aerospace engineering. Hines was also deployed during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Warren Hoburg is a commercial pilot from Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics and a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science. He previously served the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit and Yosemite Search and Rescue. Hoburg was also an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.

Dr. Jonny Kim is a US Navy lieutenant and resident physician in emergency medicine from Los Angeles. Kim received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate of medicine. Kim was also a Navy SEAL who served during more than 100 combat missions, earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat V (with valor).

Joshua Kutryk is one of the Canadian Space Agency candidates and a Royal Canadian Air Force lieutenant colonel from Beauvalion, Alberta. Kutryk earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and master’s degrees in space studies, defense studies and flight test engineering. He was previously a fighter pilot and experimental test pilot.

Jasmin Moghbeli is a US Marine Corps major from Baldwin, New York, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with information technology and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering. She also graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School and tested H-1 helicopters.

Loral O’Hara is a research engineer from Houston, Texas, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics. O’Hara engineered, tested and operated deep-sea submersibles and robots at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Dr. Francisco Rubio is a US Army lieutenant colonel from Miami, Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and a doctorate of medicine. He previously served as a surgeon and a Blackhawk helicopter pilot during combat.

Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons is the second Canadian Space Agency candidate, and an assistant professor in combustion at the University of Cambridge. She is from Calgary, Alberta and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering as well as a doctorate in engineering. While in school, she worked on research regarding flame propagation in microgravity.

Jessica Watkins worked at NASA before becoming an astronaut. She’s from Lafayette, Colorado, and earned a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences as well as a doctorate in geology. Watkins worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. She’s also worked on the Curiosity rover during her time at the California Institute of Technology.

(©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)

 

Eliott Rodriguez

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