NASA Monday named Dulaney High School graduate and Navy Lt. Commander Gregory Reid Wiseman, 33, as one of nine candidates to begin astronaut training this summer.
The Baltimore native is a test pilot serving with Strike Fighter Squadron 103 aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower out of Oceana, Va. He was selected from among 3,500 applicants for the 2009 astronaut class and begins training in August.
"Complete disbelief. It still hasn't sunk in," Wiseman said of his selection, in an interview released by the space agency. He said he grew up watching space shuttle launches, and his parents took him to see the Blue Angels perform in Annapolis each year.
But "when I saw my first space shuttle launch from the side of the road in Cocoa Beach [Fla.] in 2001, my ambition was sealed," he said.
Wiseman holds an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and, in 2006, received a master's degree in systems engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. He is married with two young daughters.
He's not the first Baltimore native to head for space. Baltimoreans Robert L. Curbeam, Marsha Ivans and Thomas Jones all flew together on the shuttle Atlantis in 2001. Next up will be Air Force Col. Terry Virts, scheduled to pilot the shuttle in a launch set for December.
But Wiseman may never fly in a shuttle. NASA plans to retire the shuttle fleet next year. Until the next U.S. manned system, called Orion, is ready, the only way into orbit will be the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
NASA currently has 85 active astronauts.