CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA named 12 astronauts on Wednesday to the U.S. space agency’s first new class of space fliers in five years, chosen from a record 18,300 applicants, for a new era of space travel.Vice President Mike Pence welcomed the five women and seven men, aged 28 to 42, during their introduction at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.Pence said the White House planned to form a council to advise President Donald Trump on space policy and strategy, relaunching a body that has been inactive for more than 25 years.Trump is “firmly committed to NASA’s noble mission leading America in space,” Pence said, noting that only 338 Americans have served as NASA astronauts.The trainees include a scientist working with the Mars robotic rover Curiosity, a SpaceX engineer, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor and an Army surgeon. Also among the dozen new astronauts is 29-year-old Zena Cardman, a Virginia native who earned her bachelor’s degree (biology) and master’s degree (marine sciences) at UNC Chapel Hill. She is now pursuing her doctorate at Penn State. NASA is developing a heavy-lift rocket and Orion capsule for travel to the moon and eventually Mars. It is also working with Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and Boeing to develop commercial space taxis that can ferry crews to and from the International Space Station, a $100 billion research lab that flies about 240 miles above Earth.”Hopefully one day I’ll get to fly on a vehicle that has components I’ve actually designed,” said Robb Kulin, 33, a doctor of engineering and Fulbright Fellow who is joining the astronaut corps from SpaceX in Hawthorne, Calif.Since the shuttle program ended in 2011, NASA has been dependent on Russia for rides to the station, a 15-nation project.Jessica Watkins, 28, a post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, joins the class after serving on the science team operating the car-sized Curiosity rover which has been exploring Gale Crater on Mars since August 2012.”We intend to send her to Mars one day,” said acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot.The astronauts have two years of training before they are eligible for flight assignments. They are scheduled to report for duty at the Johnson Space Center in August.
RALEIGH North Carolina’s own Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse held his last stop on the Decision America Tour on the grounds of the State Capitol in Raleigh Thursday, completing a months-long expedition to all […]
SAN FRANCISCO — Apple and Samsung Electronics on Wednesday settled a seven-year patent dispute over Apple‘s allegations that Samsung violated its patents by “slavishly” copying the design of the iPhone. Terms of the settlement, filed […]
CHARLOTTE – In 1957, the North Carolina General Assembly adopted the first Community College Act. Today, it’s the third largest system in the nation with 58 public community colleges and an annual enrollment of 730,000. […]