Two Colorado natives are among the first astronaut class to graduate under the Artemis program. These candidates are part of the program sending humans back to the moon for the first time in almost 50 years. They could be the first people to land on Mars.

Today, Friday, January 10, NASA is holding a ceremony honoring the first graduates of the Artemis program. According to, with the Artemis program, "NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before."

According to 9News, two of the graduates honored today hail from Colorado:

  • Matthew Dominick (top left), a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, is a native of Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in systems engineering.
  • Jessica Watkins (middle, right), from Lafayette, Colorado has a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences and a doctorate in geology.

Today's graduates will receive their astronaut pin at the ceremony. What exactly does the pin imply? It marks their graduation from basic training and eligibility to fly in space. The graduating class consists of 11 NASA candidates and two astronauts from the Canadian Space Agency.

Making the cut for this program was no small achievement. The NASA candidates were selected from a field of more than 18,000 applicants.

So, what's next? At present, the agenda is to have astronauts back to the moon by 2024, with the possibility of a voyage to Mars in the 2030's.

Right on, Colorado! First it was announced we would be the home for "Space Force," and now this. Congratulations to all the graduates, and a special shout out to those from Colorado.

99.9 KEKB - Grand Junction's Favorite Country logo
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

More From 99.9 KEKB - Grand Junction's Favorite Country