San Diego

3 Astronauts in NASA's Prestigious New Class Have Local Ties to San Diego

Two of the new astronauts studied at University of San Diego, and studied at UC San Diego.

Three astronauts in NASA's newest class studied at universities in San Diego, before being accepted into the highly prestigious program.

Five women and seven men were selected for the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class out of a record pool of 18,300 applicants. The new astronauts with local ties include Dr. Jonny Kim, Matthew Dominick and Rob Kulin.

Kim graduated from the University of San Diego (USD) and served as a Navy SEAL based in San Diego.

According to NASA, the California native completed more than 100 combat operations and earned a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat "V" while training and operating as a Navy SEAL. He was born and raised in Los Angeles before earning a degree in Mathematics at USD and graduating summa cum laude from the 2012 class.

A second astronaut candidate, Dominick, also attended the same university. After growing up in Colorado, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of San Diego with minors in Physics and Mathematics, according to his NASA biography.

Dominick also graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, clocking in more than 1,600 hours of flight time in 28 aircraft, 400 carrier-arrest landings and 61 combat missions, according to NASA.

The third astronaut candidate, Kulin, graduated from UC San Diego. He earned a Doctorate in Engineering from UC San Diego, while studying dynamic bone fracture, according to his NASA biography. 

Kulin has previously worked as an ice driller in Antarctica on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and Taylor Glaciers, according to NASA. Kulin was also a senior manager for flight reliability at SpaceX, leading the Launch Chief Engineering group in Hawthorne, California.

All three of the Astronaut Candidates will report for duty and begin two years of training in August 2017.

In total, NASA chose 12 new astronauts Wednesday from the biggest pool of applicants ever.

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