Two Coloradans Selected by NASA as Astronaut Candidates

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the below statement congratulating two native Coloradans on being selected as NASA’s astronaut candidates. NASA received more than 18,300 applications and selected twelve men and women to join the new astronaut class.


“I want to congratulate Lieutenant Commander Matthew Dominick and Jessica Watkins on being selected to join NASA’s newest astronaut class,” said Gardner. “These two incredible candidates will make Colorado proud as they join the bright men and women at NASA who ensure the United States remains at the forefront of space exploration. I’m proud our state will continue to be a leader in space exploration, and I will continue to support Colorado’s aerospace industry.”


Matthew Dominick, 35, Lt. Cmdr., U.S. Navy, was born and raised in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of San Diego and a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He also graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Dominick was at sea on the USS Ronald Reagan, serving as department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115, when he got the call saying he’d been selected as an astronaut candidate.


Jessica Watkins, 29, hails from Lafayette, Colorado. She graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences, then went on to earn a doctorate in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Watkins has worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory and currently is a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, where she collaborates on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity.





Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Subcommittee on Energy.

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