Space Foundation Press Releases

New astronaut candidates continue vision, promote educational excellence

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May. 11, 2004) — The Space Foundation congratulates the new class of 11 astronaut candidates announced recently by NASA, including three new educator astronauts. The new astronaut candidates will be the first class focused from the beginning on carrying out the nation’s Vision for Space Exploration. Additionally, the class is the first to recruit mission specialist-educator (MS-E) astronauts, teachers whose work in the classroom and now in the space program will inspire and motivate the next generation of astronauts. “This new class of astronaut candidates is essential to the continuation of space exploration and shows the nation’s commitment to continue the journey into our solar system,” said Space Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham. “The excitement and dedication of these new astronaut candidates show the public’s ongoing interest in and support for the space program.” This new class of astronaut candidates are the pilots, mission specialists, and mission specialist-educator astronauts who will participate in fulfilling the Vision for Space Exploration to return the Space Shuttle to flight, complete the International Space Station, aid in the test and development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, and move beyond low Earth orbit to return to the Moon and beyond. The three new educator astronauts – Joe Acaba, Ricky Arnold, and Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger- are the teachers whose lifetime work inspires the next generation of explorers, their students. “Getting teachers out into space is such an exciting opportunity,” said Space Foundation Vice President of Education and Workforce Development Dr. Patricia Arnold. “When students see their teachers become astronauts, they will be inspired to pursue space, too.” The Space Foundation was honored to play a role in choosing these outstanding educator astronaut candidates by forming the Blue Ribbon Panel and developing the scoring rubric that were used in the selection process. The new astronaut candidates are: Mission Specialist-Educator Joseph Acaba, Mission Specialist-Educator Richard Arnold, Pilot Randolph Bresnik, Mission Specialist Christopher Cassidy, Pilot James Dutton, Mission Specialist Jose Hernandez, Mission Specialist R. Shane Kimbrough, Mission Specialist Thomas Marshburn, Mission Specialist-Educator Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Mission Specialist Robert Satcher, and Mission Specialist Shannon Walker. Full biographies and still photos of the astronaut candidates will be available at About the Space Foundation
The Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Space Foundation is a national non-profit organization, which vigorously advances civil, commercial, and national security space endeavors and educational excellence. In addition to the Foundation’s signature event, the National Space Symposium, the Foundation will conduct Strategic Space 2004, scheduled Oct. 5-7 in Omaha, Neb. The Foundation manages the on-site NASA Educational Resource Center; offers two distinct Master’s in Space Studies Degrees in conjunction with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Regis University; and has trained more than 30,000 teachers since 1986 on Teaching With Space through Space Discovery graduate courses and national conferences. For more information, visit