NASA selects Air Force pilot for astronaut training


4/20/2004†-† RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) †--† An Air Force pilot was recently selected by NASA to be an astronaut candidate for the space shuttle program.

Maj. James P. Dutton of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is the only Airman among 11 military and civilians to be accepted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration this year.

"Two hundred eight Air Force officers' applications met the initial board that met here in May 2003," said Lynda Conner of the special flying programs office at the Air Force Personnel Center here. "One hundred twenty-five were forwarded to NASA after medical screening. Twelve of those were interviewed by NASA, and one was selected.

"The last time the Air Force was asked to hold an astronaut board was in 1999," she said. "From that board, seven Air Force officers were selected to be astronaut candidates."

Major Dutton will report to the Johnson Space Centerís astronaut office in Houston later this year for a one-year candidacy program. He will enter the basic astronaut program, which develops background knowledge and skills for future space flights.

Upon successfully completing training and indoctrination, candidates are certified by NASA as shuttle crew members.

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