Nicole Aunapu Mann
Nicole Victoria Aunapu
June 27, 1977
|Selection||2013 NASA Group 21|
Nicole "Duke" Victoria Aunapu Mann (born June 27, 1977) is an American test pilot and NASA astronaut. She is an F/A-18 Hornet pilot, and a graduate of the US Naval Academy, Stanford University and the US Naval Test Pilot School. She has over 2,500 flight hours in 25 types of aircraft, 200 carrier landings, and has flown 47 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mann completed astronaut training in 2015 and was assigned in August 2018 to Boe-CFT, the first crewed test flight of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner,but subsequently reassigned to the SpaceX Crew-5, becoming the first female commander of a NASA Commercial Crew Program launch..
Nicole Victoria Aunapu Mann was born on June 27, 1977, to Howard and Victoria Aunapu and grew up in Penngrove, California. Her grandfather Helmuth Aunapu emigrated from Estonia in the 1920s and later served as an engineer in the US military forces. She graduated in 1995 from Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park, California.
Mann attended the US Naval Academy and graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. After commissioning in the US Marine Corps, she attended graduate school at Stanford University, where she received a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, specializing in fluid mechanics.
After graduate school, Mann attended The Basic School and began flight training at NAS Pensacola. She was awarded her Naval Aviator wings in 2002 and completed training for the F/A-18 Hornet in VFA-106 at NAS Oceana. Mann joined VMFA-251 at MCAS Beaufort and deployed twice on the USS Enterprise with CVW-1 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She was a member of Class 135 at the US Naval Test Pilot School and served as an F/A-18 Test Pilot in VX-23 at NAS Patuxent River. At the time of her selection as an astronaut candidate, she was Joint Mission Planning System Expeditionary Integrated Product Team Lead at PMA-281.
In 2013, Mann was selected as one of the eight members of NASA Astronaut Group 21. She completed her training in 2015 and has since served as a T-38 Talon Safety and Training Officer and was the Assistant to the Chief of Exploration. She worked on development of the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System, and the Exploration Ground Systems. In August 2018 she was assigned to Boe-CFT, the first crewed test flight of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner. However, in October 2021 Mann was moved to fly on SpaceX's Crew-5 mission as the Spacecraft Commander.
Mann is currently in training for the international Artemis program and is a contender to be the first woman on the Moon as part of the crewed lunar landing currently scheduled for 2024. In an interview with National Geographic, she mentioned her eight-year-old son:
... We always sit outside, and we love to look at the stars and look at the moon – but now I think both of us look at it with a little different light in our eyes, and a little different twinkle. Hopefully someday, he'll be able to watch Mom fly by and walk on the moon.
Mann is married to Travis R. Mann with whom she has a son.
As a student at the Naval Academy, Mann played soccer and was an Academic All American. She was a Trident Scholar and a Distinguished Graduate. During her military career, she received two Air Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. She was the Honor Graduate in her US Naval Test Pilot School class. She received the NASA 2015 Stephen D. Thorne Safety Award and the 2017 Jerry Yeagley Award for Exceptional Personal Achievement. Mann is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Tailhook Association, US Naval Test Pilot School Alumni Association, United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, received the Leroy Grumman "Best Paper" Award at the East Coast Society of Experimental Test Pilots Symposium.
This article incorporates public domain material from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration document: Melanie Whiting. "Nicole A. Mann". Retrieved October 25, 2018. (Official NASA biography)