Indian-origin Anil Menon among NASA’s 10 new astronaut recruits

Born to Ukrainian and Indian immigrants, Dr Menon started as a NASA flight surgeon in 2014.

Astronaut Candidate Class of 2021. (NASA)

NASA on Monday announced the 10 new astronaut candidates chosen from over 12,000 applicants to represent the US and work for NASA’s future missions.

Indian-origin Anil Menon is among the new recruits who will report for duty in January 2022 to complete two years of initial astronaut training. Born to Ukrainian and Indian immigrants, he started as a NASA flight surgeon in 2014 and has supported four long-duration crew members on the International Space Station as the deputy crew surgeon.

In 2018, he joined SpaceX and helped prepare for the company’s first human flights. He served as the lead flight surgeon for five launches. He has published several scientific papers on emergency medicine and space medicine.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson introduced the members of the 2021 astronaut class, the first new class in four years at a special event at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Today we welcome 10 new explorers, 10 members of the Artemis generation, NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class,” Nelson said. “Alone, each candidate has ‘the right stuff,’ but together they represent the creed of our country: E pluribus unum – out of many, one.” The full biographies of the astronauts can be read here.

According to the release, the astronaut candidate training will fall into five major categories:

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*operating and maintaining the International Space Station’s complex systems
*training for spacewalks
*developing complex robotics skills
*safely operating a T-38 training jet
*Russian language skills training

“Each of you has amazing backgrounds,” Pam Melroy, former NASA astronaut, and NASA’s deputy administrator told the candidates. “You bring diversity in so many forms to our astronaut corps and you stepped up to one of the highest and most exciting forms of public service.”

The other nine astronaut candidates are

US Air Force Maj. Nichole Ayers
US Air Force Maj. Marcos Berríos
US Marine Corps Maj. (retired.) Luke Delaney
US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jessica Wittner
US Navy Lt. Deniz Burnham
US Navy Cmdr. Jack Hathaway
Christopher Williams
Christina Birch
Andre Douglas

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