Monday, August 31, 2009

Serena Maria Auñon " Orgullo Cubano" FELICIDADES

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2009 Astronaut Candidate Class
NASA Selects New Astronauts for Future Space Exploration

After reviewing more than 3500 applications, NASA has selected nine men and women for the 2009 astronaut candidate class. They will begin training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, in August.

“This is a very talented and diverse group we've selected,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations. “They will join our current astronauts and play very important roles for NASA in the future. In addition to flying in space, astronauts participate in every aspect of human spaceflight, sharing their expertise with engineers and managers across the country. We look forward to working with them as we transcend from the shuttle to our future exploration of space, and continue the important engineering and scientific discoveries aboard the International Space Station."

The new astronaut candidates:

Serena M. Aunon, 33, of League City, Texas; University of Texas Medical Branch-Wyle flight surgeon for NASA’s Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs; born in Indianapolis, Ind. Aunon holds degrees from The George Washington University, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, and UTMB.

Jeanette J. Epps, 38, of Fairfax, Va.; technical intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency; born in Syracuse, N.Y. Epps holds degrees from LeMoyne College and the University of Maryland.

Jack D. Fischer, Major U.S. Air Force, 35, of Reston, Va.; test pilot; U.S. Air Force Strategic Policy intern (Joint Chiefs of Staff) at the Pentagon; born in Boulder, Colo., but considers Louisville his hometown. Fischer is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Michael S. Hopkins, Lt. Colonel U.S. Air Force, 40, of Alexandria, Va.; special assistant to the Vice Chairman (Joint Chiefs of Staff) at the Pentagon; born in Lebanon, Mo. Hopkins holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Stanford University.

Kjell N. Lindgren, 36, of League City, Texas; University of Texas Medical Branch-Wyle flight surgeon for NASA’s Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation Programs; born in Taipei, Taiwan. Lindgren has degrees from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado State University, University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota, and UTMB.

Kathleen (Kate) Rubins, 30, of Cambridge, Mass.; born in Farmington, Conn.; principal investigator and fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT and conducts research trips to the Congo. Rubins has degrees from the University of California-San Diego and Stanford University.

Scott D. Tingle, Commander U.S. Navy, 43, of Hollywood, Md.; born in Attleboro, Mass.; test pilot and Assistant Program Manager-Systems Engineering at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. Tingle holds degrees from Southeastern Massachusetts University (now University of Massachusetts Dartmouth) and Purdue University.

Mark T. Vande Hei, Lt. Colonel U.S. Army, 42, of El Lago, Texas; born in Falls Church, Va.; flight controller for the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, as part of U.S. Army NASA Detachment. Vande Hei is a graduate of Saint John’s University and Stanford University.

Gregory R. (Reid) Wiseman, Lt. Commander U.S. Navy, 33, of Virginia Beach, Va.; born in Baltimore; test pilot; Department Head, Strike Fighter Squadron 103, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, based out of Oceana Virginia. Wiseman is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Johns Hopkins University.

NASA Television’s Video File will include b-roll of astronaut training. For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit:


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Newly selected NASA astronaut Serena María Auñón says that if it were up to her, she would include ropa vieja, her favorite Cuban meal, on the menu of the International Space Station.

''We have special kitchens here at NASA. Let's see what dishes they offer,'' Auñón said.

The island's gastronomy is only one of several traditions the medical astronaut owes to her father, Jorge Auñón, a Cuban immigrant whose family sent him to the United States in 1960 while waiting for Fidel Castro's downfall.

Auñón, 33, was selected last month, along with eight other astronauts, for the next several space missions of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The class was chosen from 3,500 candidates.

In a telephone interview with El Nuevo Herald, the astronaut credited her father with giving her the discipline and dedication that have propelled her career.

''I don't know anyone who has worked as hard in life as my father,'' Auñón said.

Often hungry, he sacrificed a lot but pursued an education and eventually worked his way up to dean of engineering at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

As a child, Serena would watch with fascination the launchings and landings of the space shuttle.

After she told her father she wanted to work at NASA, he steered her into engineering.

The Challenger tragedy in January 1986 did not discourage her.

As a high-school birthday present, Serena was sent to a space camp, where she became convinced that her future lay in NASA.

She trained as a surgeon and took up space medicine, a specialty that carried her to Russia, as a NASA contractor, to look after American astronauts preparing for joint space projects.

On June 27, she got the call from NASA asking whether she wanted to become an astronaut.

Her answer was yes.

When her father's former classmates from the La Salle School in Havana learned that the daughter of a Cuban might someday fly into space, one of them wrote to tell him they were all designing a tube of toothpaste for her: one that instead of toothpaste could hold black beans.
Serena M. Auñón
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Serena M. Auñón

NASA Astronaut Candidate
Status Active
Born April 9, 1976 (age 33) Aries
Indianapolis, Indiana
Other occupation Flight Surgeon
Selection 2009 NASA Group 20
Serena Maria Auñón, M.D., M.P.H., is a physician, surgeon, and current NASA astronaut candidate.[1][2][3] Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Auñón lives in League City, Texas.[1]
Contents [hide]
1 Education
2 Medical career
3 NASA career
4 References
5 External links

Dr. Auñón holds degrees a B.S in Electrical Engineering from George Washington University, a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Texas (2001), and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in 2006[1][4].
[edit]Medical career

Dr. Auñón was hired as a flight surgeon and spent over 9 months in Russia supporting medical operations for International Space Station astronauts. She is currently the deputy crew surgeon for STS-127 and Expedition 22. She also serves as the deputy lead for Orion – Medical Operations[4].
She received the 2009 Julian E. Ward Memorial Award for her contributions to spaceflight participant clinical care[4].
[edit]NASA career

Dr. Auñón was selected as an astronaut candidate in June 2009.[1] She is currently undergoing the astronaut candidacy training program at Johnson Space Center.[1][2]

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