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10:35AM

Woman with Estonian Roots Chosen for NASA Astronaut Class

7 November (BNS), from Estonian Review, published by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

"Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35-year-old U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot whose grandfather emigrated from Estonia before World War II, is one of eight members of NASA's 2013 Astronaut Candidate Class, the weekly Eesti Ekspress said.

The U.S. space agency announced the appointment of eight new astronauts in June, and a record half of NASA's first astronaut class since 2009 are women. NASA said the eight were chosen from the second largest pool of applications ever received -- over 6,100.  Intensive training for the group started at the space center in Houston in August and most likely Nicole Mann will be among the crew of the International Space Station in about ten years, the Estonian weekly said.

Nicole's Estonian born grandfather, Helmuth Aunapu, emigrated to America before WWII.  Nicole's sister Kirsten told the newspaper the sisters never saw their grandfather, who died before they were born. She said they were aware of their Estonian roots though.

Information of the NASA website says Nicole Aunapu Mann, originally is from Penngrove, California, is a major with the U.S. Marine Corps. She is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Stanford University and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Mann is an F/A 18 pilot, currently serving as an Integrated Product Team Lead at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River. She served on an F/A-18 in Iraq and Afghanistan, making approximately 150 landings on a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Gulf."

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