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NASA Astronaut Group 22

The Turtles
Official group portrait
NASA Astronaut Group 22 and the two Canadian astronauts in September 2019
Year selected2017
Number selected12
← 2013
2021 →

NASA Astronaut Group 22 (nicknamed "The Turtles") is a group of twelve NASA astronauts selected in June 2017. They were joined by two Canadian Space Agency astronauts for training.


Group patch

NASA announced the creation of this astronaut group in November 2015 and accepted applications for astronaut hires from December 2015 through February 2016.[1] A record number of applications - over 18,300 - were received. The final group of twelve selected candidates was publicly announced on June 7, 2017.[2] The class was introduced at a press conference at the Johnson Space Center by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. The ages of the seven men and six women ranged from 29 to 42 at the time of announcement.[citation needed]

The Group 22 astronaut candidates arrived at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for training in August 2017, and when their approximately two-year-long training program was complete in January 2020, they became available for future missions.[3]

The group earned their "Turtles" nickname after experiencing flooding from Hurricane Harvey shortly after arriving at NASA.[4] The name was chosen by the preceding astronaut group, "The 8-Balls", according to NASA traditions.

The first astronauts of this astronaut group to fly to space, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron on SpaceX Crew-3 took a toy stuffed turtle as zero-g indicator to pay a tribute to their astronaut group.[5]

Group members

Canadian partner astronauts

The U.S. astronauts trained alongside two Canadian astronaut candidates:

Former group member

  • Robb Kulin (born 1983): Launch Chief Engineer, SpaceX – Resigned in August 2018 before completing his training.[11]


  1. ^ "Astronaut Selection". Archived from the original on 2013-07-03. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
  2. ^ NASA (7 June 2017). "NASA's Newest Astronaut Recruits to Conduct Research off the Earth, For the Earth and Deep Space Missions". NASA. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Grush, Loren (10 January 2020). "NASA's newest astronaut class, the Turtles, become eligible for space missions". The Verge. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  4. ^ "'Turtles' on a really high post: NASA's new astronauts get their nickname | collectSPACE". Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  5. ^ Berger, Eric [@SciGuySpace] (November 11, 2021). "If you're wondering about the "turtle" zero-g mascot, both Chari and Barron are members of "The Turtles" astronaut class, selected in 2017. They are the first class members to fly into space." (Tweet). Archived from the original on 14 November 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2021 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ "Active Duty Promotions to the Permanent Grades of Captain, Commander, Lieutenant Commande".
  7. ^ "Active Duty Promotions to the Permanent Grades of Captain, Commander, Lieutenant Commande".
  8. ^ @roscosmos (January 20, 2022). "В случае подписания между Роскосмосом и @NASA соглашения о «перекрестных» полетах на МКС Анну Кикину планируется вв…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ "NASA Assigns Astronaut Jessica Watkins to NASA's SpaceX Crew-4 Mission". NASA. 16 November 2021. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  10. ^ "2017 Astronaut Candidates Available for Interviews Before Training". NASA. 2017-08-16.
  11. ^ "NASA astronaut candidate resigns prior to qualifying for spaceflight", collectSPACE, August 27, 2018.
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NASA Astronaut Group 22
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