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WATCH: Stephanie Vigil interviews newest NASA astronaut, and Spokane native, Major Anne McClain

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Major Anne McClain was born and raised in Spokane. She graduated from Gonzaga Prep Major Anne McClain was born and raised in Spokane. She graduated from Gonzaga Prep
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Should you apply to NASA? If you talk to Major Anne McClain, she'd tell you absolutely. Anne McClain was born and raised in Spokane. She graduated from Gonzaga Prep before going on to West Point, the University of Bath and the University of Bristol. McClain is an OH-58 helicopter pilot, and a recent graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River. McClain served 15 months in Operation Iraqi Freedom, flying more than 800 combat hours on 216 combat missions as pilot-in-command and Air Mission Commander.  

She, along with seven others, was selected to NASA’s most recent astronaut class in June 2013. She has completed her initial astronaut training and is qualified for a spaceflight assignment. The four women who make up half the recruiting class mark the highest percentage of women ever in one class.

McClain first applied to the program during the previous round of applications in 2009 but didn’t get an interview. She said NASA takes applications depending on the needs of the program and has had only five classes of trainees since 1998. Her class is the 21st in the nation’s 55-year space history.

The self-described science nerd said she is inspired by NASA’s missions and people.

By the way, McClain isn’t the first Spokane kid to make the astronaut corps.

Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, a Cheney High School graduate, was chosen by NASA in 1994 and logged nearly 600 hours in space as a mission and payload specialist. He was among the seven astronauts killed in the space-shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.

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