NASA has selected 12 men and women as their newest class of astronaut recruits. Among them are a man and woman with ties to Hampton Roads!
The 12 candidates were chosen from a pool of 18,300+ applicants, which is more than double the previous record of 8,000 set in 1978.
One of the chosen candidates is Zena Cardman, 29, a native of Williamsburg and graduate of Bruton High School who is currently National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow working on her doctorate at The Pennsylvania State University. Cardman has completed both a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master of Science degree in Marine Sciences at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. NASA says her research has focused on microorganisms in subsurface environments, ranging from caves to deep sea sediments. Her field experience includes multiple Antarctic expeditions, work aboard research vessels as both scientist and crew, and NASA analog missions in British Columbia, Idaho and Hawaii.
Matthew Dominick, 35, is another one of the chosen candidates with ties to Hampton Roads. Dominick is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy and although he is a Colorado native, he was stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana for some time as part of Strike Fighter Squadron 106 and Strike Fighter Squadron 143. He has graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and has logged more than 1,600 hours of flight time in 28 aircraft, 400 carrier-arrested landings, and flown 61 combat missions. He has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of San Diego and a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. Dominick is currently a part of Strike Fighter Squadron 115, forward stationed in Atsugi, Japan. He was at sea on the USS Ronald Reagan when he learned of his selection as an Astronaut Candidate.
Cardman, Dominick and the 10 other Astronaut Candidates will report for duty in August to begin their training.