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Trio of San Diego graduates named new NASA astronaut candidates

Posted at 2:19 PM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 21:50:48-04

(KGTV) - A trio of San Diego graduates was named Wednesday as the latest astronauts to NASA's space program.

NASA named University of San Diego graduates Matthew Dominick and Jonny Kim and the University of California at San Diego graduate Robb Kulin, and 9 others, to the space program's 2017 astronaut candidate class out of a record 18,300 applicants.

The trio will now take part in two years of training before being able to take assignments for missions aboard the International Space Station, launching into space on spacecraft built by commercial companies, and flying deep space missions.

Dominick, Kim, and Kulin will report to Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in August to begin training in spacecraft systems, spacewalking skills, and other necessary skills. 

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"These women and men deserve our enthusiastic congratulations," astronaut and Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa, who grew up in La Mesa and earned her degree from San Diego State University, said in a release. "Children all across the United States right now dream of being in their shoes someday.

"We here at NASA are excited to welcome them to the team and look forward to working with them to inspire the next generation of explorers."

Dominick, a U.S. Navy Lt. Commander, earned his bachelor's of science degree in electrical engineering from USD and a master's of science degree in systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. 

Kim, a Naval Lieutenant, has trained and operated as a Navy SEAL, completing more than 100 combat operations and earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Valor. He earned his degree in mathematics at USD and a doctorate of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Kulin has worked for SpaceX in Hawthorne, Calif., since 2011. He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Denver, before completing his master's degree in material science and a doctorate in engineering at the University of California.