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News | Nov. 16, 2021

Astronaut commissions into the U.S. Army Reserve

By Sgt. 1st Class Javier Orona U.S. Army Reserve Command

Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, chief of Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command, delivered the oath of office to Dr. Kate Rubins, a NASA astronaut, during a ceremony Nov. 2, 2021, at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Rubins, a native of Napa, California, said she has wanted to be an astronaut since she was a child but first started pursuing a career in molecular biology and infectious disease.

Her journey began in 1999 with a degree in molecular biology from the University of California in San Diego. Rubins then completed a doctorate at the Stanford University Medical School Biochemistry Department and Microbiology and Immunology Department.

Ten years later, in July 2009, Rubins became one of nine people selected to attend the 20th NASA astronaut class.

Today, she has completed two missions to space (Expeditions 48, 49, 63 and 64) and serves as the E.V.A. (Extravehicular Activity) and robotics branch chief. Rubins oversees the programs that involve spacewalks and robotics activities. She has spent 300 days in space and completed four spacewalks.

“One of the things we’re doing right now is developing new space suits,” said Rubins. “We’re going back to the moon, and we need specialized lunar space suits.”

Rubins said she began thinking about joining the United States Army Reserve during the COVID-19 pandemic after doing some volunteer work that included working on COVID diagnostics.

“You have some time to think in space,” said Rubins. “One of the things I really thought about was how lucky I was to be there and what my country had done for me. … I really wanted to give back.”

Rubins was promoted to the rank of major upon commissioning into the Army Reserve.

Rubins said she believes becoming a member of the USAR will help her sharpen her leadership skills and enhance her operational sensibility.

In the Army, leaders are faced with a complex mix of organizational, situational and mission demands. They are tasked with being able to apply their personal qualities, abilities and experiences in a manner that influences their organization, its people, the situation and the unfolding mission.

These difficult situations are the proving ground for leaders who are expected to make consistent, timely, effective and just decisions.

Daniels pointed out that not many people can qualify to get the opportunity to go to the International Space Station since few are able to meet the vigorous NASA standards for consideration. She also stated that in the control rooms, labs and corridors of NASA, many service members are putting their skills to good use while simultaneously bringing their NASA experience to Army formations, Navy strike groups, Air Force squadrons, Marine Corps expeditionary forces and Coast Guard districts.

“Today, it gives me great pleasure to welcome and swear in our newest Citizen-Soldier,” said Daniels. “We will provide a rewarding and challenging experience with like-minded individuals, while supporting and encouraging your future plans, education and related personal goals.”

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