Hi Girls! It’s Poppy here, bringing you some news that is out of this world…or at least will be someday! NASA has nine new American astronaut candidates—six men and three women—who are the first new batch of recruits in five years! It’s tough to try to become an astronaut, and takes a lot of patience. Not only are so few people chosen (only nine in five years!) but the recruits will now have to go through two years of training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Most potential astronauts need to wait many years before they will even be considered for the job. NASA’s Class of 2009 candidates range in age from 30 to 43—and this is considered to be a very young group!
The nine recruits were picked out of a candidate pool of 3,500 applicants. You can see why it’s so hard to be chosen! This new class is only the 20th group of astronauts since the original seven Mercury astronauts were chosen in 1959. Since it’s so hard to get the job of becoming an astronaut, the recruits all had other jobs before this one. So what do potential astronauts do before they get to live out their dream in space? Well, the group is pretty diverse and includes a technical intelligence officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), two NASA flight surgeons, a space station flight controller, a sprint-running molecular biologist, two Navy test pilots, a U.S. Air Force test pilot and the special assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. Wow! What a group of people!
Currently, there are only about 85 active astronauts in NASA’s spaceflying ranks. Do you think you have what it takes to join such an elite group? Maybe one day you’ll get to participate in an out-of-this-world experience yourself!