Woman who grew up in Divide and Colorado Springs selected as a NASA astronaut candidate

32-year-old Nichole Ayers
32-year-old Nichole Ayers(NASA)
Published: Dec. 6, 2021 at 4:36 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A woman who considers Colorado Springs and Divide her hometowns was one of 10 new NASA astronaut candidates announced on Monday.

More than 12,000 people applied for the position, but Nichole Ayers stood out as a major in the United States Air Force and one of just a handful of women who flies the F-22 Raptor. On top of that, Ayers led the first-ever all-woman F-22 formation in combat back in 2019. Read more on her NASA bio by clicking here.

Ayers graduated Woodland Park High School before earning a degree in mathematics with a minor in Russian from the U.S. Air Force Academy. She graduated the Academy in 2011 after paying D-1 volleyball for the Falcons all four years.

Ayers will report for duty in January to complete two years of initial astronaut training.


Awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Operation Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, and various other unit and service awards. Named distinguished graduate and graduated with academic distinction from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Distinguished graduate from undergraduate pilot training. Four-time Mountain West Conference Academic All-Conference and Scholar Athlete Award winner in women’s volleyball.

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