NASA Astronauts Who Are Naturalized U.S. Citizens

NASA/Getty Images News/Getty Images

United States citizenship is a requirement for NASA's Astronaut Candidate Program, but it also includes people who have gained their U.S. citizenship through naturalization. In fact, seven of the 87 currently active NASA astronauts are naturalized citizens.

Astronauts Who Are Naturalized Citizens

Gregory E. Chamitoff: Chamitoff, a mission specialist and ISS flight engineer was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and naturalized in his 20s.

Franklin R. Chang-Diaz: Former astronaut Chang-Diaz was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. In 1981, he became the first naturalized U.S. citizen to earn the title of NASA astronaut.

Kalpana Chawla: This astronaut was born in Karnal, Haryana, India and was the first Indian-American in space. Chawla became a naturalized citizen when she was 29 years old. This accomplished astronaut and space shuttle mission specialist was killed in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster.

C. Michael Foale: Foale is a mission specialist and ISS commander. He was born in Louth, England and holds the current U.S. record for cumulative time spent in space: 374-days, 11h and 19min.

Gregory H. Johnson: Johnson is a pilot, born in Middlesex, United Kingdom as is a naturalized US citizen.

Michael E. Lopez-Alegria: Born in Madrid, Spain, Lopez-Alegria currently serves as flight crew operations directorate assistant director for ISS.

Carlos I. Noriega: Born in Lima, Peru, this retired astronaut is now the director, safety, reliability and quality assurance office, constellation program of the Johnson Space Center. Noriega holds the distinction of being the first Peruvian-born person in space.

Nicholas J.M. Patrick: This mission specialist was born in North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.

He became a naturalized citizen in 1994.

Piers J. Sellers: Sellers is a mission specialist and was born in Sussex, United Kingdom. He became a naturalized citizen in 1991.

Andrew S. W. Thomas - Mission Specialist Thomas was born in Adelaide, South Australia and naturalized in 1986.

Source: Nasa.gov