Space agency received more than 18,300 applications
This undated photo made available by NASA on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 shows the 2017 NASA Astronaut Class at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. From left are Zena Cardman, Jasmin Moghbeli, Jonny Kim, Frank Rubio, Matthew Dominick, Warren Hoburg, Robb Kulin, Kayla Barron, Bob Hines, Raji Chari, Loral O’ Hara and Jessica Watkins. (Robert Markowitz/Associated Press)
NASA has chosen 12 new astronauts from its biggest pool of applicants ever.
Vice President Mike Pence attended Wednesday’s announcement of the Astronaut Class of 2017 at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
More than 18,300 people threw their hats into the space ring. That’s more than double the previous record of 8,000, set in 1978 when the space shuttles were close to launching.
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The seven men and five women selected Wednesday will join 44 astronauts already in the NASA corps. U.S. astronauts haven’t launched from home soil since 2011. But that could change next year.
After two years of training, the newbies may end up riding commercial rockets to the International Space Station, or flying beyond the moon in NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Their ultimate destination could be Mars.