menon: Indian-American in Nasa’s astronaut class of 2021 | India News

MUMBAI: Indian-American Anil Menon (45) is one of the 10 new astronaut candidates for Nasa’s human space flight programme, announced the space agency late Monday.
This is the second time in the past four years that Nasa has chosen an Indian-American for the astronaut training programme. In June 2017, Indian-American Raja Chari was selected and is currently at the International Space Station. Chari is part of Nasa’s Artemis mission to the moon.
There were around 12,000 applications this year.
Immediately after the announcement, Chris Sembroski, who was part of the historic Inspiration 4/Space X mission in September, posted on Facebook: “Congratulations Anil Menon!! NASA Astronaut class of 2021! Absolutely thrilled for this guy! They selected the very best.”
A lieutenant colonel with the US Air Force, Menon was born and raised in Minnesota. He was SpaceX’s first flight surgeon, helping to launch the company’s first humans to space during Nasa’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission and building a medical organization to support the human system during future missions.
Prior to that, the 45-year-old had served Nasa as the crew flight surgeon for various expeditions, taking astronauts to the International Space Station. Menon is an actively-practising emergency medicine physician with fellowship training in wilderness and aerospace medicine.
Menon had spent a year in India as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar to study and support polio vaccination. He is also part of a diverse class that aims to land the first woman as well as the first person of colour on the moon in 2025-2026.
The 10-member group will start its two-year training at Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre in January 2022. Upon completion, they could be assigned to missions that involve performing research aboard the space station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, as well as deep space missions to destinations including the moon on Nasa’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.
With the addition of these 10 members of the 2021 astronaut candidate class, Nasa now has selected 360 astronauts since the original Mercury Seven in 1959.
Director of Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre, Vanessa Wyche, said: “Today we reach further into the stars as we push forward to the moon once again and on to Mars with Nasa’s newest astronaut candidate class.”

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Author: Shirley