Get to Know NASA's New Astronaut Class: Video Series

The next people to take a trip around the moon or become the first humans to travel to Mars could belong to NASA's newest astronaut class

Tuesday (Aug. 22), the agency released a series of videos in which the newest group of future space travelers discuss things like where they'd like to go and how they think they'd handle the trip. You can watch all the videos on NASA Johnson's Youtube page

"I live in Boston so I'm used to small spaces," said Jonny Kim, a Navy SEAL and member of the new astronaut class, about why he's a good candidate to spend months in a small spacecraft. In response to that same question, other members of the class said things like: "I pack light," "[I have] good self-hygiene" and "When I sleep I cuddle up, so I don't take up that much room." [What It's Like to Become an Astronaut: 10 Surprising Facts]

The videos were filmed before the new cadets arrived in Houston for the start of their two-year training period, which began this week. Members of the class are referred to as "astronaut candidates" until they complete this training period.

Each of the interview videos is about 2.5 to 4 minutes long. The candidates answer such questions as how they came to apply for the astronaut program, where they were when they got the call from NASA saying they'd been accepted, what they're excited about doing in space and what space food they're looking forward to, among others.

Tuesday, the new astronaut class got the chance to talk to NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer and Randy Bresnik, who are living on the International Space Station. The class was joined by Canada's two new astronaut candidates, Joshua Kutryk and Jennifer Sidey. The astronaut candidates asked their new co-workers things like what aspects of training they wish they'd paid more attention to, what the most important skills are for an astronaut and (to Whitson) what it was like being a woman going through astronaut training. 

The new astronaut class includes seven men and five women who were chosen from the largest pool of applicants in NASA history — 18,353. That shattered the 1978 record of 8,000 applicants, according to NASA.

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Calla Cofield
Senior Writer

Calla Cofield joined's crew in October 2014. She enjoys writing about black holes, exploding stars, ripples in space-time, science in comic books, and all the mysteries of the cosmos. Prior to joining Calla worked as a freelance writer, with her work appearing in APS News, Symmetry magazine, Scientific American, Nature News, Physics World, and others. From 2010 to 2014 she was a producer for The Physics Central Podcast. Previously, Calla worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (hands down the best office building ever) and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Calla studied physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is originally from Sandy, Utah. In 2018, Calla left to join NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory media team where she oversees astronomy, physics, exoplanets and the Cold Atom Lab mission. She has been underground at three of the largest particle accelerators in the world and would really like to know what the heck dark matter is. Contact Calla via: E-Mail – Twitter