In 2017, Matthew Dominick, San Diego ’04, embarked on the ultimate adventure after being selected for NASA’s astronaut training program. Following two years of rigorous training, he completed the program in January 2020 and participated in the first public graduation ceremony ever held for an astronaut candidate class.
“I liked the idea of going fast and flying, so in 2005, I joined the Navy and became a test pilot,” he told Colorado Community Media, a news outlet in his home state, days before graduating. “I realized that if you want to go higher and faster than airplanes, you’ve got to go to space.”
Dominick participated in flight training in T-38 jets, learned robotics, practiced spacewalks and learned how to make repairs to spacecraft. He also studied geology to better communicate with geologists about potential discoveries and prepared for potential missions with Russian cosmonauts by studying their language.
“I always wanted to explore and understand the world around me. I think every child has that,” he stated.
It may be a couple of years before Dominick is assigned to a mission in space, though. In the meantime, he’s working with NASA engineers to test several unlaunched spacecraft. Dominick now has the opportunity to take part in flights to the International Space Station, expeditions to Mars or a mission in the Artemis program, which aims to return to the moon by 2024.
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