Tuesday, October 17, 2017 | Updated at 4:19 PM ET


Major Frank Rubio To Become First Salvadoran-American Astronaut And Joins A Prestigious Club Of Latinos In Space

First Posted: Jun 15, 2017 04:08 PM EDT
This is what it's like to spend eight months on Mars
Is there anything Frank Rubio can't do?

Photo : Image courtesy of NASA

NASA has announced its new class of astronaut trainees for 2017 and one highly-decorated candidate could be the first Salvadoran-American in outer space.

U.S Army Major Frank Rubio is a father of four and as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot flew over 600 hours of dangerous combat missions in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The Miami, Florida-native and West Point graduate is also a respected flight surgeon, earning his Doctorate of Medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Dr. Rubio and the rest of the astronaut class will report for duty in August 2017, to begin two years of training as an Astronaut Candidate. Upon the completion of the famously rigorous gauntlet of tests, he will be assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office while he awaits a potential space flight assignment.

VIDEO: What Astronaut Training Looks Like

Rubio is now a member of an exclusive group of Latinos in space and contributing to outer space science. Many would be surprised to know that the first black astronaut was also a Cuban man, by the name of Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez. Mendez was a cosmonaut who participated in spaceflight missions with the Soviet Union in 1980.

Jose Fernandez was the child of Mexican migrant farm workers in California who dreamed of becoming an astronaut. After working long hours in the fields and putting himself through school, he went on to develop early breast cancer detection technology and became the first astronaut to tweet from space in Spanish.

They are joined by Dr. Rafael Navarro, the only Mexican researcher at the European Space Agency. Navarro is trying to tackle a nefarious problem for space travel: how to bring water to the cold and harsh climates of Mars in an attempt to terraform it for future generations

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