The room fell quiet and all eyes were trained on the projection screen on stage as a livestream showed Jasmin Moghbeli graduating from NASA’s Artemis program. Moghbeli, who grew up in Baldwin, was one of 11 candidates welcomed to the agency, becoming eligible for spaceflight assignments, including trips to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the moon and even missions to Mars.
More than 50 fifth-grade students sat in rows of chairs in the Lenox Elementary School gymnasium, joined by teachers, administrators and local media to watch Moghbeli, 36, a Lenox alumna, celebrate a special moment in her life at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston last Friday.
The new astronauts, NASA representatives said in a news release, completed more than two years of training and are the first to graduate since the agency announced its Artemis program. They were chosen from a “record-setting” pool of more than 18,000 applicants and will take part in assignments that “will expand humanity’s horizons in space for generations to come.”
After the ceremony, students Skyped with Moghbeli, asking her questions, moderated by Lenox Principal Asheena Baez, who noted that the astronaut “sat in the very seats you’re sitting in.”
“For me, it all actually really started at Lenox when I was in sixth grade,” Moghbeli said, recalling a book report she did on Valentina Tereshkova, a Russian cosmonaut who was the first woman in space. “It was that book report that really got me excited about becoming an astronaut and introduced me to that possibility, that that’s something I can do . . . and now I’m lucky enough to be here today and living out that dream.”
Moghbeli was born in Bad Nauheim, Germany, but considers Baldwin her hometown. She graduated from Baldwin High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with information technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.