NASA Receives Second
Highest Number Of Astronaut Applications
By Shane Nolan
February 5, 2012 - More than 6,300 individuals applied
to become a NASA astronaut between Nov. 15, 2011 and
Jan. 27, the second highest number of applications ever
received by the agency. After a thorough selection
process, which includes interviews and medical
examinations, nine to 15 people will be selected to
become part of the 21st astronaut class.
"This is a great time to join the NASA family," NASA
Administrator Charles Bolden said. "Our newest
astronauts could launch aboard the first commercial
rockets to the space station the next generation of
scientists and engineers who will help us reach higher
and create an American economy that is built to last."
The Astronaut Selection Office staff will review the
applications to identify those meeting the minimum
requirements. Next, an expanded team, comprised mostly
of active astronauts, will review those applications to
determine which ones are highly qualified. Those
individuals will be invited to Johnson Space Center for
in-person interviews and medical evaluations.
be looking for people who really stand out," said Peggy Whitson,
Chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center and
Chair of the Astronaut Selection Board.
not only will be looking at their academic background and
professional accomplishments but also at other elements of their
personality and character traits,
what types of hobbies they have or unique life
experiences. We want and need a mix of individuals and skills
for this next phase of human exploration."
NASA expects to announce a final selection of astronaut candidates in the spring of 2013. The selected astronaut candidates will have two years of initial training. Subjects will include space station systems, Russian language and spacewalking skills training.
Those who complete the training will be assigned technical duties within the Astronaut Office at Johnson and, ultimately, missions. Typically, the agency receives between 2,500 and 3,500 applicants for astronaut vacancy announcements. The highest response occurred in 1978 with 8,000 applicants.
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