Burnham of Wasilla, Alaska, who was selected from a list of more than 12,000 applicants, is a former intern at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. The journey to apply for and be selected as a NASA Astronaut Candidate is the culmination of a lifetime of effort. As an engineer on an oil rig, Burnham gained experience in operational environments where she gained problem-solving skills working with complex systems, as well as teamwork and adaptability in dynamic environments. She also holds a private pilot’s license with fixed wing, helicopter and instrument rating. Burnham received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at San Diego and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southern California. In 2017, Burnham was directly commissioned as an EDO and was assigned to SurgeMain Alameda (Surge Maintenance Unit) of Naval Sea Systems Command (Surge Maintenance Unit in Alameda, Calif.), A program that supports the maintenance of aircraft carriers and submarines in the four public naval shipyards.
As an EDO in Navy Reserves, qualification consists of training to impart the technical and operational knowledge necessary to be an EDO: the Navy Direct Commission Officer Induction Course; Officer development school; the land seamanship / indoctrination course; Shipboard Systems Engineering, an industrial visit to a shipyard, At-Sea, EDO Basic, and finally EDO qualification advice. Burnham credits the discipline, teamwork, dynamic leadership, and follow-through that are practiced in the EDO community that will prepare them to quickly become a value added member of the NASA team.
Burnham looks forward to the opportunity to explore and collaborate with an extremely knowledgeable and motivated team at NASA, pushing new technologies that can improve life on earth and inspire people from all walks of life to pursue their passions.
Burnham will show up at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas on January 10 to begin two years of training. There are five broad categories of training: spacewalk training, robotics skills, ISS systems training, Russian language learning, and T-38 jet training. “I firmly believe in the NASA mission and I was absolutely delighted and honored to receive the call that I had been selected as an astronaut candidate,” said Lt. Burnham. “Becoming a NASA astronaut has always been a childhood dream for me. “
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