NASA will soon be announcing a “new astronaut class of 2017,” after it received a record-high number of applications.
NASA has reportedly received a record-high number of hopeful prospective astronauts, and will soon be announcing its 2017 class of astronauts. The announcement will be made at 2pm on Wednesday in a televised and live press conference. The event can also be viewed online at Space.com or NASA TV.
Attendees of the conference include Robert Lightfoot, a NASA Administrator, Brian Kelly, the Flight Operations director of the Johnson Space Center and Ellen Ochoa, the center’s director.
The New Class’s Mission
The new class will be going off into space after a two-year training at the Houston Johnson Space Center, which will start in August. According to NASA officials, in their training they’ll be studying “spacecraft systems, spacewalking skills, teamwork, Russian language and other necessary skills.”
After that, they “could be assigned to missions performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, and launching on deep space missions on NASA’s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.”
There destinations in space could either be near Earth’s orbit or deeper into space.
This year, NASA received over 18,300 applications from December 2015 to February 2016, beating its record of 8,000 applications, from 1978. The applicants included people from all 50 states of the US, Columbia, as well as Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Guam.
The application’s requirements included a bachelor’s degree in “science, technology, engineering or math (STEM),” as well as either three years of experience in related fields or “1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.”
One NASA official said: “It’s not at all surprising to me that so many Americans from diverse backgrounds want to personally contribute to blazing the trail on our journey to Mars,. A few exceptionally talented men and women will become the astronauts chosen in this group who will once again launch to space from U.S. soil on American-made spacecraft.”