Telugu makes it to NASA team Raja Chari chosen from 18,300 applicants

Telugu makes it to NASA team Raja Chari chosen from 18,300 applicants
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Highlights

Raja Chari, a 39-year-old Indian- American Lieutenant Colonel with the US Air Force, is among 12 astronaut candidates selected from a record 18,000 applicants by NASA for missions into Earth orbit and deep space. 

Houston: Raja Chari, a 39-year-old Indian- American Lieutenant Colonel with the US Air Force, is among 12 astronaut candidates selected from a record 18,000 applicants by NASA for missions into Earth orbit and deep space.

The seven men and five women comprise the 22nd class of American spaceflight trainees since 1959. The group, the largest in almost two decades selected by NASA, will report for a two-year training in August, the space agency announced.

Raja "Grinder" Chari is a commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Hailing from Waterloo, Iowa, he earned a Master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School.

The group was selected from a record 18,300 applicants, more than NASA has ever had during an open astronaut call.

To get picked, people had to meet some physical requirements as well as certain education and experience criteria such as having a bachelor's degree in a STEM field or accumulating up to 1,000 hours of piloting jets. But it's clear that this new class greatly surpasses all the minimum skills that NASA requires.

The 12 new candidates include six military officers, three scientists, two medical doctors, a lead engineer at SpaceX and a NASA research pilot. Chari's father Srinivas Chari was an engineer and he immigrated to the US after his engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad.

Among other candidates include Lt Kayla "Sax" Barron, 29, Zena Cardman, 29, Lt Commander Matthew Dominick, 35, Bob Hines, 42, Warren "Woody" Hoburg, 31, Jonny Kim, 33, Robb Kulin, 33, Major Jasmin Moghbeli, 33, Loral O'Hara, 34, Francisco Rubio, 41 and Jessica Watkins, 28.

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