Two astronaut candidates with ties to North Carolina will be honored as part of the first class of astronaut candidates to graduate under the Artemis program Friday, January 10, 2020, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
After completing more than two years of basic training, these candidates will become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station (ISS), Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars.
The ceremony will air live at 10:30am (EST) on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The class includes 11 NASA candidates, as well as two Canadian Space Agency (CSA) candidates, selected in 2017. The NASA candidates were chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants.
Zena Cardman calls Williamsburg, Virginia, home. She completed a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in marine sciences at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Cardman was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow working at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focused on microorganisms in subsurface environments, ranging from caves to deep sea sediments. Her field experience includes multiple Antarctic expeditions, work aboard research vessels as both a scientist and crew member, and NASA analog missions in British Columbia, Idaho and Hawaii.
Bob Hines, a US Air Force lieutenant colonel, born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, attended high school in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania and now considers Harrisburg, Pennsylvania his hometown. He has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Boston University and a master’s degree in flight test engineering from the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Hines served as a developmental test pilot on all models of the F-15 while earning a master’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama. He has deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Prior to being selected as an astronaut, he was an FAA flight test pilot and a NASA research pilot at Johnson.
All astronaut candidates have completed training in spacewalking, robotics, ISS systems, T-38 jet proficiency, and Russian language. At the ceremony, each candidate will receive an astronaut pin, marking their graduation from basic training and their eligibility to be selected to fly in space.
As astronauts, they’ll help develop spacecraft, support the teams currently in space and ultimately, have the opportunity to join the ranks of only about 500 people who have had the honor of going into space. NASA continues its work aboard the space station, which is preparing to mark the 20th consecutive year of humans living on-board in November 2020. The agency also is on the verge of launching Americans from American soil aboard commercial spacecraft and is preparing to send humans to the Moon as part of the Artemis program.