An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN

SPA Alumnus Dr. Anil Menon '95 selected for NASA Astronaut Candidate Class

Dr. Anil Menon, a member of SPA's Class of 1995, has been selected by NASA to be part of the first Astronaut Candidate Class in four years. A practicing physician and lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Menon is one of 10 members of the Astronaut Candidate Class chosen out of a pool of 12,000 applicants.

The NASA press release about the Candidate Class highlights Menon's background as an emergency medicine physician and first responder, his experience in wilderness and aerospace medicine, and his work in the Air Force. He was SpaceX’s first flight surgeon, helping to launch the company’s first humans to space during NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission and building a medical organization to support the human system during future missions. Prior to that, he served NASA as the crew flight surgeon for various expeditions taking astronauts to the International Space Station. Menon is an actively practicing emergency medicine physician with fellowship training in wilderness and aerospace medicine. As a physician, he was a first responder during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and the 2011 Reno Air Show accident. In the Air Force, Menon supported the 45th Space Wing as a flight surgeon and the 173rd Fighter Wing, where he logged over 100 sorties in the F-15 fighter jet and transported over 100 patients as part of the critical care air transport team. Read the full NASA press release about the Candidate Class.

Both the Pioneer Press and KARE-11 noted Menon's time as a student at SPA, after which he earned a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from Harvard University, a master’s degree in public health from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, and a doctorate in medicine from Stanford University. Menon will report to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in January 2022 to start the two-year astronaut training program.