NASA just unveiled 12 new astronauts from its biggest pool of applicants in the space agency's history

The 2017 NASA Astronaut Class: (from left) Zena Cardman, Jasmin Moghbeli, Jonny Kim, Frank Rubio, Matthew Dominick, Warren Hoburg, Robb Kulin, Kayla Barron, Bob Hines, Raji Chari, Loral O' Hara and Jessica Watkins. NASA/Robert Markowitz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA chose 12 new astronauts Wednesday from its biggest pool of applicants ever, selecting seven men and five women who could one day fly aboard the nation's next generation of spacecraft.


The astronaut class of 2017 includes doctors, scientists, engineers, pilots and military officers from Anchorage to Miami and points in between. They've worked in submarines, emergency rooms, university lecture halls, jet cockpits and battleships. They range in age from 29 to 42, and they typically led the pack.
"It makes me personally feel very inadequate when you read what these folks have done," said NASA's acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot.

Vice President Mike Pence welcomed group during a televised ceremony at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. He offered President Donald Trump's congratulations and noted that the president is "firmly committed to NASA's noble mission, leading America in space."
Pence assured the crowd that NASA will have the resources and support necessary to continue to make history.

"Under President Donald Trump, America will lead in space once again, and the world will marvel," he said.
More than 18,300 people threw their hats into the space ring during a brief application period 1 ½ years ago. That's more than double the previous record of 8,000, set in 1978 when the space shuttles were close to launching.
The 12 selected Wednesday will join 44 astronauts already in the NASA corps. U.S. astronauts have not launched from home soil since 2011, thus the low head count. But that could change next year.

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