CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA has selected 23 new astronauts, including the first female to train as a shuttle pilot, the first hispanic woman named to the astronaut corps and the husband of Columbia flier Bonnie Dunbar.
The 1990 astronaut group, chosen from 1,945 candidates and announced Wednesday by NASA, is made up of 11 civilians and 12 military officers. Seven of the 23 are pilots and five are women. All 23 will be eligible for assignment to shuttle crews after a one-year training period.
Air Force Maj. Eileen Collins, 33, of Elmira, N.Y., is the first female named to train as a space shuttle pilot. A jet fighter pilot, Collins was the first woman ever selected to study at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Married to James Youngs, Collins holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Syracuse University and two master's degrees, one in operations research from Stanford University and the other in space systems management from Webster University.
Also named to the astronaut corps Wednesday was Thomas M. Sega, 37, husband of astronaut Bonnie Dunbar, currently in orbit aboard the shuttle Columbia for her second spaceflight.
Sega, born in Cleveland, Ohio, holds a bachelor's degree in physics and math from the United States Air Force Academy, a master's degree in physics from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado.
Dunbar was informed of her husband's selection late Wednesday in a daily message to the crew from mission control in Houston. The couple is the third husband-wife astronaut team in NASA. The other two are William and Anna Fisher and Rhea Seddon and Robert 'Hoot' Gibson.
And in another first for NASA, Ellen Ochoa, 31, was named to the astronaut corps Wednesday, the first Hispanic woman selected to fly on the space shuttle.
Born in Los Angeles, Ochoa holds a bachelor's degree in physics from San Diego State University, and a master's and doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
NASA said 106 of the 1,945 qualified applicants were granted interviews and medical examinations and from that group, 23 candidates were selected. The group 'will report to the Johnson Space Center, Houston, in July to begin a year of training and evaluation, after which they will receive assignments leading to selection for shuttle flight crews,' the agency said.
The candidates are the 13th group of astronauts to be selected since NASA started picking crews with the original 'Mercury Seven' in 1959. The last group of astronaut trainees was named in August 1987.