USD grads among sailors picked for astronaut class

Three sailors are on their way to join the growing list of Navy astronauts.

NASA announced that Lt. Kayla Barron, Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick and Dr. Jonny Kim were selected from a record breaking 18,300 applicants to join its 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class of just 12 people.

Barron, Dominick and Kim will return to Johnson Space Center in Houston in August to begin two years of training. Then, they could be assigned to any of a variety of missions, including: performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies and departing for deep space missions on NASA’s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Both Dominick and Kim graduated from the University of San Diego.

Matthew Dominick

Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Dominick, a Colorado native, earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of San Diego and a Master of Science degree in systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. He graduated from U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He has accumulated more than 1,600 flight hours in 28 aircraft models, 400 carrier arrestments, 61 combat missions and nearly 200 flight test carrier landings (arrested and touch-and-go).

Dominick was commissioned through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps following graduation from the University of San Diego in 2005 and reported to Pensacola, Fla., for flight training. He was designated as a naval aviator in 2007 and reported to Strike Fighter Squadron 106, Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., for transition to the F/A‑18E Super Hornet. Following his initial training, Dominick was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 143.

He made two deployments to the North Arabian Sea, flying close air support missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While with Strike Fighter Squadron 143, Dominick was selected to attend the Naval Postgraduate School / U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Co-Operative Program, where he earned a Master of Science in systems engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.

Designated a developmental test pilot in 2013, Dominick was assigned to the fixed wing carrier suitability flight test department of Air Test Evaluation Squadron 23. There, he served as developmental flight test project officer for a variety of carrier suitability test programs, including MAGIC CARPET, Joint Precision Approach & Landing Systems, Infrared Search and Track Pod, and the precision approach and landing certification of aircraft carriers. He flew developmental flight tests in the F/A-18ABCD, F/A-18E/F, and EA-18G. Additionally, he contributed to the X-47B (Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike), V‑22, T-45, E-2C, C-2A and F-35C test programs.

In 2016, Dominick returned to an operational naval squadron, Strike Fighter Squadron 115, flying F/A-18E Super Hornets in the forward deployed naval forces stationed in Atsugi, Japan.

At the time of his selection as an astronaut candidate, Dominick was at sea aboard USS Ronald Reagan serving as the department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115.

Jonny Kim

Dr. Jonny Kim, a California native, trained and operated as a Navy SEAL, completing more than 100 combat operations and earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat “V”. Afterward, he went on to complete a degree in mathematics at the University of San Diego and a Doctorate of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Kim enlisted in the Navy as a seaman recruit following graduation from Santa Monica High School in 2002. After completion of training at Naval Special Warfare, he was assigned as a special warfare operator to SEAL Team 3.

He served as a combat medic, sniper, navigator and point man on more than 100 combat operations spanning two deployments to the Middle East before he was commissioned into the Medical Corps following graduation from the University of San Diego in 2012.

At the time of his selection, Kim was a resident physician in emergency medicine.



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