The Sky is Not The Limit!
Updated: Jan 21
Astronaut Kayla Barron, SpaceX Crew-3 Mission Specialist -- USNA '10
We often hear that "the sky is the limit" when discussing potential career paths or other endeavors. But for the US service academies and their graduates, this statement does not apply! Careers around space operations, development and associated work are literally 'out of this world' allowing US Air Force Academy, US Naval Academy and other military academy graduates to fill these very exciting and challenging roles.
Academy graduates, such as Sheppard, Bobko, Helms, Irwin, Scirra, Lindsey (my classmate!) and many others, have been part of the nation's space program and our nation's efforts to navigate and develop the outer spaces beyond earth's safe confines. The two most recent additions are Raja Chari (USAFA, Class of 1999) and Kayla Barron (USNA, Class of 2010), who will be half of the SpaceX crew that will travel to the International Space Station in the early morning hours of Halloween (2021). What a 'trick or treat' for both of them!
Astronaut Raja Chari, SpaceX Crew-3 Commander -- USAFA '99
A recent article (from News 13 in Central Florida) provides a great outline of the unique paths both Astronauts Chari and Barron took after graduating from USAFA and USNA, respectively. The academies provide an outstanding foundation along with the wide variety of experiences, training and educational opportunities found in the US military services as a commissioned officer.
Lt Col Chari is a command pilot with 2,500 hours of flight time in the F-35, F-15, F-16, and F-18. He is also the former commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and former director of th F-35 Integrated Test Force. At the Air Force Academy, he majored in Astronautical Engineering and later earned a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Lt Barron earned a BS in Systems Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England, in 2011, as a 2010 Gates Cambridge Scholar. As a Submarine Warfare Officer, Barron was a member of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community. She also served as the Flag Aid to the Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy when she was selected for the astronaut program in August 2017.
Do you have what it takes to become an astronaut? Or, would you like to provide mission planning for the US Space Force? Or, perhaps some other journey? Careers, like Lt Barron and Lt Col Chari, illustrate the exciting alternatives that service academy graduates may pursue. If this excites you, then start the process! Apply to one of the US service academies -- US Air Force Academy, US Naval Academy, US Military Academy, US Coast Guard Academy, US Merchant Marine Academy -- and you are on your way! Truly, the sky is NOT the limit!
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