Clovis woman announced as NASA Astronaut Candidate

Local News

Photo of Jessica Wittner provided by NASA

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — On Monday, Jessica A. Wittner of Fresno was announced as a member of NASA’s 2021 class of astronaut candidates.

According to NASA’s website, Wittner was born in Fresno but considers Clovis to be her hometown. A graduate of Buchanan High School, Wittner joined the US Navy in 2001. She served on active duty as a US naval aviator and as a test pilot.

“I love to learn why and how things work the way that they work and became a mechanic in an earlier life,” Wittner said. “When I found out that there was a profession that combined all of these things, I was hooked.”

At the announcement, Wittner spoke of her early days in school playing with rockets and enjoying science class.

“Every step of my career […] had this goal in mind of standing here today as a NASA astronaut candidate with all my teammates,” Wittner said at the NASA astronaut candidate announcement. “I’m extremely excited to be part of this team.”

An astronaut candidate is assigned to the “Astronaut Office” at Johnson Space Center in Houston where they will be trained and evaluated over the course of two years. Training includes military water survival, becoming scuba qualified, and passing a swimming test, according to NASA.

Being an astronaut candidate does not guarantee selection as an astronaut, successful military candidates “will be detailed to NASA for a specified tour of duty,” notes NASA’s website.

Wittner will report for duty in January for two years of initial astronaut training.

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