It is the ultimate orientation film: NASA astronauts on Earth and in space have recorded a fun video to welcome the incoming 2017 astronaut class. The space agency will unveil the new class on Wednesday (June 7).
"Welcome to the 2017 ASCAN [astronaut candidate] class! We are really looking forward to having you join our team," astronaut Peggy Whitson says in the video while performing weightless somersaults on the International Space Station. "This is, I can guarantee, the most unique environment you will ever work in. We love it."
NASA will officially announce the new astronaut class on Wednesday during a live ceremony at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston, which serves as the home for the U.S. astronaut corps. You can watch the 2017 astronaut class unveiling live here, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 2 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT). Vice President Mike Pence will be on hand to welcome the new astronauts.
For the new video, which NASA posted on YouTube, Whitson and many other astronauts on Earth recorded a series of welcome messages for the 2017 class. While all the veteran astronauts sent congratulatory messages, they also hinted at the hard work ahead for the new recruits. After all, each new astronaut spends two full years training for his or her new job in space.
"I remember feeling totally outclassed, and you should, too," said astronaut Michael Barratt, from the class of 2000, about his experience meeting veteran astronauts and instructors. "You've got a ton of work ahead of you, and we're not going to be making it easy for you."
Still, the job does come with its perks.
Astronaut Jack Fischer, who is also on the International Space Station with Whitson, had one last thing to show the incoming 2017 class.
"I want to show you your new office," Fischer said in the video as he presented parts of the space station. "It's a little bit cramped — the desk is kind of small — but the view, oh the view!"
Fischer then took a video camera into the Cupola, an observation module covered with windows that offers station crewmembers sweeping panoramic views of Earth from space.
"Your job is to take the wonder and amazement that we get to see every day, and share it with the world and ignite their passion to explore it, too," Fischer said. "It just doesn't get better than that. So, congratulations again, class of 2017. Welcome to the club."
NASA received more than 18,300 applications for its 2017 astronaut class between December 2015 and February 2016, shattering the previous record of 8,000 applicants set in 1978.
The two-year training session for new astronauts will begin in August, NASA officials have said.