From 12,000 to 10: NASA’s Next Generation Artemis Astronauts Graduate

NASA Astronaut Graduation 2024

NASA newest class of astronauts, selected in 2021, graduate during a ceremony on March 5, 2024, at the at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Credit: NASA

NASA’s newest Artemis astronauts were introduced in a ceremony, having completed rigorous training and being prepared for future missions including to the Moon and Mars, with an ongoing partnership with UAE astronauts.

NASA welcomed its newest class of next generation Artemis astronauts in a Tuesday ceremony at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The 10 astronaut graduates now are eligible for flight assignments. The agency also announced the opening for the next round of NASA astronaut applications.

Diverse Explorers for Future Missions

“Congratulations to the newest class of NASA astronauts! We are excited to have a new and diverse set of explorers ready to expand humanity’s reach,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Astronauts are pioneers who will help us embark on this new era of exploration, and we need more adventurers ready to join the ranks to explore the cosmos, including future missions to the Moon, on to Mars, and beyond.”

Selected for training in 2021, the astronaut graduates were chosen from a pool of more than 12,000 applicants and successfully completed more than two years of required basic training, including spacewalking, robotics, space station systems, and more.

The 2024 astronaut graduating class gives you an insider’s look at not only the who’s who of their graduating class, but it allows you to get a glimpse of the accomplished astronauts’ personalities. To see them together as a group, connecting through laughter helps to illustrate how much they value team care. These classic superlatives give the scoop on which astronaut is the best dancer, the funniest, and more. Enjoy seeing a lighter side of “The Flies” in this fun and upbeat montage of the 2024 astronaut graduating class. Credit: NASA

Assignments and Partnerships

The graduates may be assigned to missions destined for the International Space Station, future commercial space stations, and Artemis campaign missions to the Moon in preparation for Mars.

“Congratulations to NASA and the astronaut graduates,” said U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kiran Ahuja. “By partnering with OPM, NASA employed an automated and streamlined hiring process to screen applicants for these prestigious roles. OPM is thrilled to continue supporting NASA experts to design and implement their hiring methods.”

It’s graduation day for NASA’s newest astronauts! Join NASA as they honor their latest astronaut candidates on the completion of their training. Ten NASA candidates and two candidates from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will earn their wings in a ceremony at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, becoming eligible for future assignments to the International Space Station, the Moon—and, eventually, missions to Mars. Credit: NASA

Congratulations From NASA Leadership

“It’s an incredible time to be an astronaut with a variety of spacecraft to fly and more destinations to explore,” said Chief Astronaut Joe Acaba. “I’m honored to welcome these astronauts, congratulate them on their hard work, and look forward to growing our ranks as we help expand humanity’s reach into the solar system.”

The graduating NASA astronauts are Nichole Ayers of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Marcos Berríos of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; Chris Birch of Gilbert, Arizona; Deniz Bunham of Wasilla, Alaska; Luke Delaney of Debary, Florida; Andre Douglas of Chesapeake, Virginia; Jack Hathaway of South Windsor, Connecticut; Anil Menon of Minneapolis; Chris Williams of Potomac, Maryland, and Jessica Wittner of Clovis, California.

New astronauts took questions from media and the public after NASA’s 2024 Astronaut Graduation Ceremony. Credit: NASA

International Collaboration

Continuing the long tradition of international partnership, two UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronauts, Nora AlMatrooshi and Mohammad AlMulla of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre, trained alongside their NASA counterparts for the past two years, as well as participated in the graduation ceremony.

This is one part of the partnership between NASA the UAE, including cooperation on the International Space Station, NASA’s Artemis missions through the Gateway lunar space station, and other activities on Earth and in space that are supporting groundbreaking science and research.

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