Indian-origin Physician and US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Selected by NASA for Future Missions
Indian-American Anil Menon was SpaceX’s first flight surgeon and helped to launch its first humans to space.
FREMONT, CA: Anil Menon, an Indian-origin lieutenant colonel at the US Air Force, was recently selected by NASA along with nine other to-be astronauts for future NASA space missions. 45-year-old Anil Menon was born to Indian and Ukrainian parents and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Mr. Menon was also SpaceX’s first flight surgeon and helped launch its first humans to space during NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. He was also a crucial team member that built the medical organization to support human systems during future space missions. Mr. Menon’s selection was announced during a statement made by NASA earlier this month. The agency chose ten new astronaut candidates amongst the twelve thousand applicants to represent the US and work for humanity’s benefit. In the public announcement made by NASA, the agency’s Administrator Bill Nelson introduced the new class of astronauts, the first new class in four years, and said, “Alone, each candidate has 'the right stuff,'' but together they represent the creed of our country: E Pluribus Unum - out of many, one.”
The new team of astronauts will commence their two-year training from January 2022. NASA’s astronaut program has five major categories:
• Training for spacewalks
• Operating and maintaining the International Space Station's complex systems
• Safely operating a T-38 training jet
• Developing complex robotics skills
• Russian language skills
After completing the training program, the ten astronauts could be assigned a mission involving research on the space station. The spacecraft will be built on American soil by commercial companies for deep space exploration, including the Moon on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and Orion Spacecraft. Former NASA astronauts Pam Melroy also made a statement saying that the new team brings diversity in many forms and has very impressive professional backgrounds.
For the first time ever, NASA mandated a master’s degree in a STEM field and used an online assessment tool for the selection process. Anil Menon has previously served NASA as a crew flight surgeon for various missions while taking astronauts into the ISS. He is actively participating as an emergency medicine physician with training in aerospace medicine. As a physician, Menon was the first responder during the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the earthquake in Nepal in 2015, and the Reno Air show accident in 2011. In US Air Force, Menon helped the 45th Space Wing as a flight surgeon, where he logged over a hundred sorties in F-15 fighter jets.