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More than 12,000 apply to be NASA’s next class of astronauts – Houston Chronicle


More than 12,000 people applied to join NASA’s next class of astronauts.

NASA opened applications in March as the agency seeks men and women who could explore the moon and Mars. Its last class, which received a record 18,300 applications, accepted 12 people in 2017 and ultimately graduated 11 of them in January 2020.

Since the 1960s, NASA has selected 350 people to train as astronaut candidates. It has 48 astronauts in the active astronaut corps, and the agency said it needs more to create a sustained human presence on the moon through its Artemis program and then continue on to explore Mars.

Related: Houston-born astronaut Shannon Walker to ride on SpaceX Crew Dragon to space station

“We’ve entered a bold new era of space exploration with the Artemis program, and we are thrilled to see so many incredible Americans apply to join us,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a news release.

The application for the newest class of astronauts opened March 2 and closed March 31. Applications were received from every U.S. state, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories. Meeting the application requirements was more difficult this year. NASA increased the education requirement for applicants from just having a bachelor’s degree to having a master’s degree in a science, technology, math, or engineering field, according to the news release.

NASA’s Astronaut Selection Board will invite the most qualified candidates for interviews and medical tests at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. NASA expects to introduce the new astronaut candidates in the summer of 2021.



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