America’s eight new astronaut candidates made their first appearance in front of the media today at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“For more than 50 years now…the Johnson Space Center has been the home of America’s spaceflight, and it will be your new home,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told the new candidates as he welcomed them.
“They not only have the right stuff…they represent the full tapestry of America,” Bolden said. “These next generation of explorers will be among those who plan and carry out the first human missions to an asteroid or on to Mars. Their journey begins now, and the nation will be right beside them reaching for the stars.”
The astronaut candidates are Josh A. Cassada and Victor J. Glover, both lieutenant commanders in the U.S. Navy; Tyler N. “Nick” Hague, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force; Christina M. Hammock; Nicole Aunapu Mann, a major in the U.S. Marine Corps; Anne C. McClain and Andrew R. Morgan, both majors in the U.S. Army; and Jessica U. Meir.
They were selected from more than 6,100 applicants through a rigorous process. The first call for applications went out almost a year and a half ago, and NASA selected the top 120 candidates and brought them to the Johnson Space Center for interviews and evaluations. The selection board chose the top 49 candidates from that pool and conducted even more tests and evaluations. From that group, the eight were selected.
But that was just the beginning. Their training, which will last for two years, has already started in Houston. The candidates will focus on a variety of technical training activities to prepare for missions that will help the agency push the boundaries of exploration and travel to new destinations in the solar system. Many of them are still in the process of moving their families to their new hometown.