NASA has selected 10 new astronaut candidates from over 50,000 applicants to form the newest class of space explorers.
The six men and four women hail from across the United States, from Puerto Rico to Alaska, the agency announced Monday. For the first time, NASA required all applicants to hold a graduate degree in a STEM field.
“Today we welcome 10 new explorers, 10 members of the Artemis generation, NASA’s 2021 astronaut candidate class,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Alone, each candidate has ‘the right stuff,’ but together they represent the creed of our country: E pluribus unum — out of many, one.”
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The new astronauts-in-training range in age from 32 to 45. Many have Air Force backgrounds and are skilled combat pilots.
“Each of you has amazing backgrounds,” Pam Melroy, former NASA astronaut, told the candidates at an announcement event Monday. “You bring diversity in so many forms to our astronaut corps and you stepped up to one of the highest and most exciting forms of public service.”
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When they complete their training, the astronauts will embark on missions to conduct research on the International Space Station, crew commercial rockets, and return to the moon.
The group will start their two-year training program in January and will study how to operate the ISS, participate in spacewalk training, and learn the Russian language, robotics, and how to fly the training jets.