A member of NASA’s latest class of astronaut candidates has resigned from the space agency before completing his basic training.
Robb Kulin, 35, is leaving the program just over a year after he was chosen to join NASA’s 22nd group of spaceflight trainees. His departure reduces the 2017 class, nicknamed “The Turtles,” to 11 members.
Kulin’s resignation, effective on Friday (Aug. 31), is “for personal reasons,” NASA public affairs officer Brandi Dean told reporters on Monday. No further details were released.
A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Kulin is a private pilot with a master’s degree in materials science and a doctorate in engineering from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to becoming an astronaut candidate, he previously worked as an ice driller in Antarctica, a commercial fisherman in Chignik, Alaska, and as the senior manager for flight reliability at SpaceX, leading the company’s Launch Chief Engineering group in Hawthorne, California. . .
The last time that a NASA astronaut candidate resigned before being qualified for a spaceflight assignment was 50 years ago. Chemist John Llewellyn, a member of NASA’s sixth group of trainees and second scientist-astronaut group chosen in 1967, withdrew from the program after realizing he was not cut out for flying jets. (Read more from “Astronaut Candidate First to Resign in 50 Years” HERE)