After reviewing a record-breaking flurry of applications from hopeful space travelers, NASA is ready to announce the new astronaut class of 2017.
The space agency will introduce the astronaut candidates in a live, televised press conference on Wednesday, June 7, at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). You can watch the event live on Space.com or on NASA TV.
NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot will join the new members of the astronaut corps on stage, along with Ellen Ochoa, Johnson Space Center director, and Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at the center. [How to Become an Astronaut]
To be selected as an astronaut candidate, those who filled out an application needed "the right stuff" more so this time around than ever before. A record-shattering number of applicants made the job a bit more competitive this year. Over 18,300 prospective astronauts submitted applications between December 2015 and February 2016, more than doubling the previous record of 8,000 applicants, set in 1978.
Before these remarkable new astronaut candidates can blast off into space, they will first complete two years of astronaut training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, starting in August. There, they will study up on "spacecraft systems, spacewalking skills, teamwork, Russian language and other necessary skills," NASA officials said in a statement.
After training, the astronauts "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," NASA officials said.
Whether it's in low-Earth orbit or somewhere in deep space, some seriously awesome space adventures await this group of rookie NASA astronauts.
Email Hanneke Weitering at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.