Thumbs up: Penngrove woman bound for the stars

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Thumbs up for Nicole Aunapu Mann, a Penngrove native who is slated to be among the first astronauts to test NASA’s next generation of space capsules. Her selection was announced Friday.

Mann, a graduate of Rancho Cotate High School, Stanford and the U.S. Naval Academy, entered the space program five years ago, when she was selected as one of eight astronaut trainees from a field of 6,300 applicants. She is now one of nine astronauts in line to fly test missions of new space capsules being produced by Boeing and SpaceX.

Mann, 41, has yet to make a space flight, but she’s eager to go when the test flights start next year. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the @BoeingSpace team!,” she said in a tweet. “I’m looking forward to strapping into the Starliner and launching into space from the Cape! #LaunchAmerica” We will be watching.

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