MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota native is among NASA’s new class of eight astronauts.

Thirty-nine-year-old Josh Cassada is originally from White Bear Lake. Cassada is a former naval aviator who currently serves as co-founder and chief technology officer for Quantum Opus.

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Four of the eight new astronauts are women, the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected by NASA.

The eight were chosen from more than 6,000 applications received early last year, the second largest number ever received. They will report for duty in August at Johnson Space Center in Houston and join 49 astronauts currently at NASA.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said these new candidates will help lead the first human mission to an asteroid in the 2020s, and then Mars, sometime in the following decade

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Online:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/2013astroclass.html

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