SPOKANE, Wash. -- A U.S. Army major from Spokane, Wash. has been named one of NASA's eight newest astronaut trainees.
Anne C. McClain, 34, is a graduate of Gonzaga Preparatory School. She also attended Saint George’s School.
McClain said she fell in love with flying at a young age and grew up attending air shows at Fairchild Air Force Base.
She eventually left Spokane and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; the University of Bath and the University of Bristol, both in the United Kingdom.
McClain is an OH-58 helicopter pilot, and she recently graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.
NASA announced the 2013 astronaut candidate class on Monday after an extensive year and a half search. The eight were chosen from more than 6,100 applications, the second largest number ever received. Four out of the eight are women, the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected by NASA.
McClain said she is beyond excited to be apart of NASA.
“I love the international cooperation,” said McClain. “And really to me just being part of team human. And exploring beyond our earth is just intrinsically satisfying. And when you couple that with engineering and flight and really just being on the cutting edge of everything that humans have done is just so exciting and there's nothing that compares.”
The candidates will receive technical training to prepare for missions to low-Earth orbit, an asteroid and Mars.
They will report for duty in August at Johnson Space Center in Houston. McClain said she will spend about two years undergoing intense training which includes learning everything from Russian to space walks.