NASA chooses Indian-American for astronaut position

Among the 12 astronauts chosen by NASA for its 22nd class of American spaceflight trainees is an us Iowa native Indian-American Raja Chari, 39. He graduated from the US Air Force Academy with bachelor's degrees in astronautical engineering and engineering science. He married Holly Schaffter Chari and the couple is blessed with three children.

Chari has received multiple awards for his service. Pence even gave a speech on the future of space explorations and the space agency.

The shuttle programme ended in 2011 in the wake of two disasters and concerns about financial costs - but the Trump administration has said it is committed to space discovery.

Following training, possible mission assignments include research on the International Space Station, launching in commercial spacecraft and going on deep space missions.

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The talented women and men selected for the new astronaut class represent the diversity of America and the career paths that can lead to a place in America's astronaut corps.

"We intend to send her to Mars one day, folks", Brian Kelly, director of flight operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center said when he introduced the last new astronaut Jessica Watkins.

The seven men and five women, aged 29 to 42, included a surgeon, a research engineer, a resident physician, an assistant professor, students and military officers. He also has a Master's in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and is a certified US Naval Test Pilot.

He also promised Nasa all help to "make history".

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O'Hara was among more than 18,000 applicants who applied to be a NASA candidate.

Robb Kulin, a launch engineer and senior manager for SpaceX, is among the new astronauts. Other milestone classes include the eighth in 1978 that included the first female, African American and Asian American astronauts, and the 21st class in 2013, which was the first to achieve a 50/50 gender ratio.

Forty-one-year-old Dr. Francisco Rubio served the U.S. Army as a Major and logged in 600 hours of flight time in helicopters under combat scenarios.

Current ISS astronaut Jack Fischer, class of 2009, gives a quick "office" tour of the space station.

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Requirements include USA citizenship; degrees in science, technology, engineering or math; and at least three years of experience or 1,000 hours of piloting jets.

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