Meet NASA’s Newest Astronaut–and for MIT, Number 38

by Joe McGonegal on June 21, 2013 · 1 comment

in Alumni Life, Engineering, In the News, Space

NASA announced its newest class of astronaut candidates this week, one that includes Tyler Hague SM ’00, who studied aerospace engineering (Course XVI) and who brings the count of MIT astro-alums to 38. Before reporting to Johnson Space Center in August, Hague took a few minutes to talk with Slice about the news.

Did you ever think you would become an astronaut? 
I knew the odds were not in my favor,and there were a lot of things that would have to fall into place. Looking at it all was daunting, so I just focused on the task at hand and tried to do my best.

Tyler Hague SM '00. Photo courtesy NASA.

Tyler Hague SM ’00. Photo courtesy NASA.

How long have you wanted this?
It’s been a childhood dream. But it really took hold during my time at the US Air Force Test Pilot School when I was first exposed to flight test operations. The tight-knit, team approach to conducting operations and expanding understanding was something I really enjoyed and what drew me to NASA’s astronaut program.

Have you applied to be an astronaut before?
I applied three times. I applied for the 2004 and 2009 classes.

Talk about the moment you received this news.
It was overwhelming. I was honored with this opportunity. I realized that it was only possible because of countless others who supported me along the way. I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.

How did the MIT degree help shape your path?
MIT created countless opportunities. The education and discipline I received during my time in the Aero/Astro Department as a Draper Fellow formed a technical foundation that allowed me to jump right into my Air Force career and make an impact developing new systems and capabilities. It was invaluable during my time at test pilot school and throughout my career in acquisitions.

Where have you been since graduating from test pilot school in 2003?
I deployed in late 2004 for five months to Balad, Iraq, as part of a special mission named Horned Owl, where we conducted experimental airborne counter-IED operations. I am currently the deputy division chief conducting research and development of new solutions and countermeasures for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the Joint IED Defeat Organization. Prior to that, I completed a legislative fellowship working in Senator Ben Nelson’s office, after which I served as the congressional appropriations liaison for US Central Command.

What happens when you report in August?
I begin a two-year training program to develop the foundational skills I will need to fly on the International Space Station. I am excited to be part of the team performing ISS operations and preparing for possible missions to explore asteroids and Mars.

Watch a video, courtesy of NASA, of Hague reacting the news.

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