It has been confirmed that a record number of US citizens want to be astronauts as NASA. This can be seen by the number of applications for the coveted job.
Over 18,300 people applied to be an astronaut at NASA for the 2017 program. This is three times the applications that were received in 2012. Way back in 1978 in the salad days of NASA, a mere 8000 applications were sent from all over the USA.
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NASA and the US citizens have sure come a long way. Many Americans actually want to be a part of the future mission to Mars. They are in fact looking forward to be test subjects in the first mission to a foreign planet other that the earth’s satellite, the moon.
Some very talented and capable men and women will be on board the mission to Mars. They will be US citizens who will launch in an American-made spacecraft from Yankee soil.
“It’s not at all surprising to me that so many Americans from diverse backgrounds want to personally contribute to blazing the trail on our journey to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, himself a former astronaut.
“A few exceptionally talented men and women will become the astronauts chosen in this group who will once again launch to space from U.S. soil on American-made spacecraft.”
The applications started pouring in December of last year. It was the start of a year and half long process that will decide who is on board that crucial mission and who is not. The competition is tough.
NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore trains for spacewalks in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Credits: NASA
By the middle of 2017, NASA will declare the selected candidates. The qualifications of each candidate will come in handy. Then the interviews will begin and finally selection will occur by the trustworthy members of a board made for this express purpose.
The final bunch of astronauts will undergo rigorous training in the ABCs of space travel. One of the directors of the operations said that with so many applications, NASA was up to its neck in tasks that will have to be accomplished in gauging the candidates.
This is of course a good sign. Since so many people want to be astronauts, it just goes to show you how eager these loyal men and women are to the cause of space travel. They want to bring honor to their country.
“We have our work cut out for us with this many applications,” said Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at Johnson.
“But it’s heartening to know so many people recognize what a great opportunity this is to be part of NASA’s exciting mission. I look forward to meeting the men and women talented enough to rise to the top of what is always a pool of incredible applicants.”
The selected astronauts will undergo at least two years of training. This will include work on the spacecraft, walking in space and the ins and outs of teamwork.
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They will learn variegated skills including a course in the Russian language. They will finally be assigned to the ISS, Orion spacecraft, Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon. The ultimate goal remains the journey to Mars though.