Watch NASA announce its newest class of astronauts this afternoon


Image by NASA

Today, NASA is announcing to the world its newest class of astronauts at the space agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This is the new group of people who could potentially fly on brand-new vehicles into lower Earth orbit or into deep space one day. Around a dozen lucky and incredibly talented humans will join the ranks of the astronaut corps this afternoon, which currently boasts 44 people who are eligible for flight assignments.

The newest class was handpicked from more than 18,300 hopefuls who applied between December 2015 and February 2016 — the highest amount of submissions NASA has ever received during an open call. Before this, around 8,000 was the record for most submissions in 1978. To be picked, people have to meet a certain set of criteria — such as having a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field or experience flying jet aircraft — and then go through rounds of interviews. So today’s new astronauts have gone through a lot to get to this point.