Virginia native and U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate Andre Douglas is part of NASAs 2021 Astronaut Candidate Class.
More than 12,000 people applied for the 10 spots. The candidates will face two years of training beginning January 2022 before they become eligible for spaceflight.
Douglas holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan in mechanical engineering; a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in systems engineering from George Washington University.
The Virginia native has worked his entire professional life to become an astronaut. According to his NASA profile, Douglas served in the Coast Guard as a naval architect, a salvage engineer, a damage control assistant, and an officer of the deck. Douglas was also on the staff of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, working on maritime robotics, planetary defense, and space exploration missions.
The Black astronaut also carries a wealth of NASA experience. Douglas was part of the fault management team during its development of the DART planetary defense mission. He also supported the systems engineering team on MEGANE, a sophisticated gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer instrument, developed to support the Mars Moons eXploration spacecraft that was developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The other nine elected for the 2021 Astronaut Candidate Class feature five military pilots. The class includes Nichole Ayers, 32, a U.S. Air Force Major and experienced combat aviator; Christina Birch, 35, who holds degrees in mathematics, biochemistry, and molecular biophysics and a doctorate in biological engineering; and Deniz Burnham, 36, a lieutenant who serves in the U.S. Navy Reserves and is a former intern from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
Also in the class is Luke Delaney, 42, a retired U.S. Marine Corps Major who has served as a naval aviator, test pilot, and test pilot instructor; Jack Hathaway, 39, a U.S. Navy commander and distinguished aviator who has flown 39 combat missions; Anil Menon, 45, a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who served as SpaceX’s first flight surgeon when it launched NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission in June 2020; Christopher Williams, 38, a board-certified medical physicist who completed residency training at Harvard Medical School and joined the faculty as a researcher and clinical physicist; and Jessica Wittner, 38, a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, naval aviator, and test pilot who has flown F/A-18 fighter jets.