What’s Next for NASA’s New Astronaut Class?

NASA has welcomed a dozen some-more people into a wanderer family, though a new additions aren’t prepared to go to space only yet.


Yesterday (June 7), a group denounced its 2017 wanderer class — 7 group and 5 women selected from a record-breaking initial pool of 18,353 applicants. (The prior high was 8,000 applicants, behind in 1978, NASA officials said.)

The 12 new wanderer possibilities (or “ascans,” in NASA parlance) won’t spin bone-fide astronauts until they finish dual years of training. This work, that starts in August, will be sundry and rigorous. [What It’s Like to Become an Astronaut: 10 Surprising Facts]

For example, a newcomers will learn all about the International Space Station (ISS) and a many systems. They’ll use holding spacewalks in a hulk swimming pool during NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, and they’ll copy berthing visiting vessels with a orbiting lab’s hulk robotic arm. 

NASA’s primary partner on a $100 billion ISS is Russia’s sovereign space agency, so a possibilities will also learn Russian. And they’ll be taught to fly supersonic T-38 jets, to assistance ready them for a rigors of spaceflight, NASA officials said.

When all of this training is done, a newly minted space fliers will get in line for a outing to a final frontier. (There are now 44 active, or flight-eligible, members of NASA’s wanderer corps.) While they wait their turn, a 2017 category will be indifferent “technical duties” during JSC’s Astronaut Office.

“Technical duties can operation from ancillary stream missions in roles such as CAPCOM in Mission Control, to advising on a growth of destiny spacecraft,” NASA officials wrote in an FAQ about a new wanderer class. (CAPCOM is brief for Capsule Communicator; it refers to an particular during Mission Control who communicates directly with crewmembers in space.)

When a wait is over, a 2017 category could be indifferent to missions aboard any of 4 opposite spacecraft, NASA officials added: a ISS, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule, SpaceX’s Dragon plug or NASA’s Orion vehicle.

Starliner and Dragon are being grown to packet American astronauts to and from a ISS, underneath multibillion-dollar NASA contracts. Both Boeing and SpaceX aim to start crewed exam flights someday subsequent year. When a private capsules are entirely adult and running, they will finish NASA’s coherence on Russian Soyuz booster to yield this cab service. [Photos: The Best Astronaut Selfies in Space]

NASA is building Orion, along with a outrageous rocket called a Space Launch System (SLS), to help get astronauts to Mars and other deep-space destinations. Orion has been to space once, on an uncrewed exam moody to Earth circuit in Dec 2014 that launched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket.

SLS and Orion are scheduled to launch together for a initial time in 2019 on a moody called Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1), that will send an uncrewed Orion on a three-week tour around a moon. The duo’s initial crewed moody will come a smallest of 33 months after EM-1, NASA officials have said. 

One of a 12 new possibilities “could be a one that takes that subsequent iconic hulk jump and says a difference identical to what Neil Armstrong pronounced when he stepped on a moon, and brings a whole NASA family, and this whole world, with them,” behaving NASA arch Robert Lightfoot pronounced during a press discussion yesterday. “That’s what a destiny is for these folks, and it’s very, really sparkling when we consider about it.”

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