NASA to Unveil New Astronaut Class on June 7 After Record-High Applications

Joseph Tanner
Astronaut Joseph Tanner, STS-115 mission specialist, waves at the camera during a spacewalk in 2006. NASA will announce the latest additions to its astronaut corps on June 7. (Image credit: NASA)

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 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.

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.