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Press Release

Friday, December 10, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications
Tel: 202-594-6827

RELEASE: OPM Congratulates NASA on Newest Class of Astronaut Candidates

For the first time, OPM tools assist NASA in selecting its astronaut class

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) celebrates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) class of 2021 astronaut candidates, who were evaluated and selected with human resources tools and services developed by OPM. The candidates’ names were unveiled this week at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

“We congratulate NASA and the class of 2021 astronaut candidates,” said Kiran Ahuja, Director of OPM. “NASA instituted new online assessments specifically designed to measure skills critical for success in the astronaut position. Leveraging the OPM Talent Acquisition Systems, this is the first time they were able to employ an automated and streamlined process to screen applicants for these coveted roles. This is all part of a concerted effort to have NASA experts help design NASA hiring methods and we are thrilled to be a part of this process.”

More than 12,000 U.S. citizens applied in March 2020 to become astronauts in the “Artemis Generation.” OPM coordinated closely with NASA human resources personnel as well as current astronauts to design the application process and the assessment battery. NASA employed OPM’s tools, including USAJOBS, USA Staffing, and USA Hire to help evaluate the 12,000+ applicants and zero in on the final ten astronaut candidates selected through an intensive, multi-stage process. These tools helped modernize and automate the application process resulting in a more efficient processing and review of applicants.

“Astronauts have a tremendous responsibility at NASA to carry out human spaceflight missions to the International Space Station, to the Moon with Artemis, and eventually to Mars. As such, selecting NASA astronaut candidates is an extremely important and thorough process. Our partnership with OPM supported enhancements to the process and as a result, NASA selected 10 outstanding individuals to join the NASA team as astronaut candidates,” said Jane Datta, NASA’s Chief Human Capital Officer.

OPM is excited to continue partnering with NASA to identify future astronauts who will carry out NASA’s mission: to discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the strategic human capital partner to the federal government that is recruiting, retaining, and honoring the workforce that's landing rovers on Mars, fighting climate change and cancer, and building this country back better. OPM provides leadership and support to agencies through key issues and services-including human resource policy and oversight, federal employee benefits, and retirement services- that impact more than two million people in the federal workforce. As the nation's largest employer, the federal government is the model employer across sectors.

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