NASA Narrows Astronaut Candidates To Eight
June 17, 2013

NASA Whittles Down New Astronaut Candidates To Eight

Watch the video "Astronaut Class of 2013"

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

NASA has narrowed down its search for its 2013 Astronaut Candidate Class to just eight potential candidates from an initial list of 6,100.

The space agency spent a year-and-a-half looking through résumés from thousands of candidates before whittling it down to the top eight contenders. NASA said the final group will receive a wide array of technical training at space centers around the world to prepare for missions to low-Earth orbit, an asteroid and Mars.

"These new space explorers asked to join NASA because they know we´re doing big, bold things here — developing missions to go farther into space than ever before," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "They´re excited about the science we´re doing on the International Space Station and our plan to launch from U.S. soil to there on spacecraft built by American companies. And they´re ready to help lead the first human mission to an asteroid and then on to Mars."

The new astronaut class will begin training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston this August. The class includes the following: Josh A. Cassada, 39; Victor J. Glover, 37; Tyler N. Hague, 37; Christina M. Hammock, 34; Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35; Anne C. McClain, 34; Jessica U. Meir, 35; and Andrew R. Morgan, 37. Morgan is a doctor with experience as an emergency physician and flight surgeon for the Army special operations community.

"This year we have selected 8 highly qualified individuals who have demonstrated impressive strengths academically, operationally, and physically,” said Janet Kavandi, director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center. “They have diverse backgrounds and skill sets that will contribute greatly to the existing astronaut corps. Based on their incredible experiences to date, I have every confidence that they will apply their combined expertise and talents to achieve great things for NASA and this country in the pursuit of human exploration."

NASA began the application process for this class of would-be astronauts in November 2011. During its search, the agency stated that it was looking for astronauts who would "advance research aboard the space station to benefit life on Earth and developed the knowledge and skills needed for longer flights to explore the solar system." The US space agency also said it received its second largest number of applications ever.