Vice President Pence To Welcome America’s Newest Astronauts Chosen From 18,000 Applicants
By Space Coast Daily // June 5, 2017
There have been 22 classes of astronauts
NASA – Vice President Mike Pence will visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Wednesday to welcome America’s newest astronaut candidates, chosen from more than 18,000 applicants to carry the torch for future human space exploration.
The event will air live at 2 p.m. EDT on Space Coast Daily TV via NASA. Additionally, the Vice President will tour the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center and hear briefings on current human spaceflight operations.
The new astronaut candidates could one day be performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil aboard spacecraft built by American companies, and traveling to the moon or even Mars with the help of NASA’s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.
There have been 22 classes of astronauts selected from the original “Mercury Seven” in 1959 to the most recent 2017 class.
Other notable classes include:
- The fourth class in 1965 known as “The Scientists” because this was the academic experience was favored over pilot skills.
- The eighth class in 1978 was a huge step forward for diversity, featuring the first female, African American, and Asian American selections.
- The 16th class in 1996 was the largest class yet with 44 members – 35 U.S. astronauts and 9 international astronauts. They were selected for the frequent Space Shuttle flights and the anticipated need for International Space Station crewmembers.
- The 21st class in 2013 was the first class to have a 50/50 gender split with 4 female members and 4 male members.
CLICK HERE for more information on astronaut selection and information on the candidates after their introduction.
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