Richland native Kayla Barron inducted as NASA astronaut

Richland woman in the running to become NASA astronaut
Photo: NASA Astronaut Candidate Kayla Barron

HOUSTON — NASA graduated 11 new astronauts in a ceremony at the Johnson Space Center on Friday.

One of the astronauts is Kayla Barron, a Richland native. Under NASA’s new Artemis program, she could be sent on missions to the International Space Station, the first woman on the Moon, or perhaps one of the first humans to set foot on Mars.

“These individuals represent the best of America, and what an incredible time for them to join our astronaut corps,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine of the graduating class. “2020 will mark the return of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil, and will be an important year of progress for our Artemis program and missions to the Moon and beyond.”

Barron, 32, is a U.S. Navy lieutenant, originally from Richland – she studied systems engineering and nuclear engineering, served aboard the USS Maine, and served as the flag aide to the superintendent at the U.S. Naval Academy.

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NASA's graduating class.

NASA’s graduating class at the Johnson Space Center. Kayla Barron is the leftmost graduate on stage.