SpaceX Engineer, Caltech Researcher Join Astronaut Ranks

In an unusual addition to the list of recruits to NASA's astronaut program, NASA said this week that a SpaceX engineer and a Caltech researcher, are both among the list of twelve new candidates at a chance for future space exploration with the agency. According to NASA, Jessica Watkins, 29, has a doctorate in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has worked at NASA's Ames Research Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and is now a fellow at the California Institute of Technology working on the Curiosity rover. Robb Kulin, 33, has been working for SpaceX in Hawthorne, where he leads the Launch Chief Engineering group. The 12 astronauts named by NASA were selected from over 18,300 applicants for the program, which over its lifetime since Mercury 7 in 1959, has only selected 350 astronauts.


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