We will select between eight and 14 new astronaut candidates from among a record-breaking applicant class of more than 18,300, almost three times the number of applications the agency received in 2012 for the recent astronaut class, and far surpassing the previous record of 8,000 in 1978.
The candidates will be announced at an event at our Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas at 2 p.m. EDT on June 7. You can find more information on how to watch the announcement HERE.
1. What are the qualifications for becoming an astronaut?
Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements before submitting an application.
Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science or mathematics.
Degree must be followed by at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft
There have been 22 classes of astronauts selected from the original “Mercury Seven” in 1959 to the most recent 2017 class. Other notable classes include:
The fourth class in 1965 known as “The Scientists: because academic experience was favored over pilot skills.
The eighth class in 1978 was a huge step forward for diversity, featuring the first female, African American and Asian American selections.
The 16th class in 1996 was the largest class yet with 44 members – 35 U.S. astronauts and 9 international astronauts. They were selected for the frequent Space Shuttle flights and the anticipated need for International Space Station crewmembers.
The 21st class in 2013 was the first class to have 50/50 gender split with 4 female members and 4 male members.
These astronauts will be part of expanded crews aboard the space station that will significantly increase the crew time available to conduct the important research and technology demonstrations that are advancing our knowledge for missions farther into space than humans have gone before, while also returning benefits to Earth. They will also be candidates for missions beyond the moon and into deep space aboard our Orion spacecraft on flights that help pave the way for missions to Mars.
5. What will their roles be?
After completing two years of general training, these astronaut candidates will be considered full astronauts, eligible to be assigned spaceflight missions. While they wait for their turn, they will be given duties within the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center. Technical duties can range from supporting current missions in roles such as CAPCOM in Mission Control, to advising on the development of future spacecraft.
6. What will their training look like?
The first two years of astronaut candidate training will focus on the basic skills astronauts need. They’ll practice for spacewalks in Johnson’s 60-foot deep swimming pool, the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, which requires SCUBA certification. They’ll also simulate bringing visiting spacecraft in for a berthing to the space station using its robotic arm, Canadarm2, master the ins and outs of space station system and learn Russian.
And, whether they have previous experience piloting an aircraft of not, they’ll learn to fly our fleet of T-38s. In addition, they’ll perfect their expeditionary skills, such as leadership and fellowship, through activities like survival training and geology treks.
7. What kinds of partners will they work with?
They will join a team that supports missions going on at many different NASA centers across the country, but they’ll also interact with commercial partners developing spaceflight hardware. In addition, they will work with our international partners around the globe: ESA (the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.
8. How does the selection process work?
All 18,353 of the applications submitted were reviewed by human resources experts to determine if they met the basic qualifications. Those that did were then each reviewed by a panel of about 50 people, made up primarily of current astronauts. Called the Astronaut Rating Panel, that group narrowed to applicants down to a few hundred of what they considered the most highly qualified individuals, whose references were then checked.
From that point, a smaller group called the Astronaut Selection Board brought in the top 120 applicants for an intense round of interviews and some initial medical screening tests. That group is further culled to the top 50 applicants afterward, who are brought back for a second round of interviews and additional screening. The final candidates are selected from that group.
9. How do they get notified?
Each applicant selected to become an astronaut receives a phone call from the head of the Flight Operations Directorate at our Johnson Space Center and the chief of the astronaut office. They’re asked to share the good news with only their immediate family until their selection has been officially announced.
10. How does the on boarding process work?
Astronaut candidates will report for duty at Johnson Space Center in August 2017, newly fitted flight suits in tow, and be sworn into civil service. Between their selection and their report for duty, they will make arrangements to leave their current positions and relocate with their family to Houston, Texas.
South African actress Charlize Theron broke our screens when she won awards for a mind blowing performance of notorious female serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, in Monster. Charlize was also harbouring a horrific family murder secret herself.
On the 21st of June 1991, Charlize’s alcoholic father, Charles Theron, was physically assaulting her mother, Gerda Aletta, and threatening to harm them both. Gerda then grabbed a gun and shot Charles dead in self defence in their Johanasburg farm house. Charlize was only 15 at the time.
of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion,
the first all-African-American, all-female unit to serve overseas in World War II, take part in a parade
ceremony in honor of Joan d'Arc at the marketplace where she was burned
at the stake. Rouen, France. May 27, 1945.
A prominent name in the Harlem Renaissance movement, Augusta Savage was not just an artist, but also an important Civil Rights activist.
While Augusta showed a passion for art at a very young age, her religious father disapproved greatly. She never let her family’s opinions deter her, as she continued to refine her talents and accepted encouragement elsewhere. Her talent and hardwork did not go ignored, as she enrolled in tuition-free Cooper Union and even received a scholarship which covered living expenses. However, as clearly gifted as Augusta was, many could not see past her race. After completing her schooling, she applied for an art program in France, and was rejected due to her race. Rather than let her set this back, she used her experience to draw attention to these hateful prejudices.
Augusta was finally able to travel and become even more well-known as she received fellowships and grants which allowed her to travel over Europe, later returning to a poor America as the Great Depression was in full effect. Commissions were lacking during this time, but it did not slow Augusta. She opened a studio in 1932, became the first black artist to join the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, and was a founding member of the Harlem Artists’ Guild.
By the time of her death, in the 1960’s, Augusta Savage was almost completely forgotten and was far from a famous name at the time. Thankfully, she is remembered today for her Civil Rights achievements through art.
Above: Bust of Gwendolyn Knight, who was a close friend of Augusta, one of her most famous busts: Gamin (1929), and The Harp (1939). The Harp, also known as Lift Every Voice and Sing, was created for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It was extremely popular, but was destroyed with the other installations at the end of the event.
*has Black Widow and Hulk engage in an unreasonable, out-of-place, inappropriate, almost offensive romance*
*POCs constantly killed off or injured for main white character’s manpain (Rhodey)*
*has Captain America kiss Sharon Carter for no reason*
*gives more character arc and screentime for a supposed cameo Peter Parker in a single film than Sharon Carter got in two films*
*rejects a Black Widow solo film*
*delays Captain Marvel film for Ant-Man sequel*
*hires a female director for Captain Marvel - gasp*
*but turns out she’s going to co-direct it with a MALE director because apparently Marvel can’t trust a woman enough!*
*out of sixteen films so far, unbelievably sixteen films have white male actors as the lead*
Iron Man (white)
Black Widow (white)
Captain America (white)
Scarlet Witch (white)
…Spider Man? (white)
…Doctor Strange? (white)
…Ant Man? (white)
…Honestly, Marvel Studios?
…and now we give you Black Panther! Let’s just all shove African Americans in one movie so we could please the fans and have people stop bitching about our lack of diversity and remove ourselves of the need to sacrifice whiteness for POCs later in our films.
Meanwhile, the DCEU…
*hires female director for Wonder Woman*
*casts two female actors, one African American, to be villains*
*female characters have a purpose to exist other than as a love interest (Lois Lane)*
*Margot Robbie (FEMALE) to write and produce an all-female DCEU movie*
*has a totally badass female villain (Faora) to appear in no way inferior to her male companions, gives her solo fight sequences*
*even when Wonder Woman only has seven minutes of screentime on BvS, appears front and center on Blu-ray covers and gets merchandise*
*does not force women into meaningless and audience-pleasing romance*
*has a director (Zack Snyder) who actually respects women and gives them an actual purpose in films*
*casts an impressively diverse cast of Amazons that no-one saw coming*
The Justice League:
Wonder Woman (Israeli Jew)
Aquaman (Native Hawaiian)
Harley Quinn (white)
El Diablo (Latino)
Rick Flag (Ukrainian Jew)
Captain Boomerang (white)
Killer Croc (black)
The most diverse cast I have ever seen in a CBM. Out of 22 main casts of the DCEU, 12 are white, 10 are POC, half the Justice League are POC, seven are women, of which three of them are POC (while Marvel has two, both white). And this achieved in just 3-4 years, while it will take the MCU 10 years to FINALLY have a movie with a non-white lead. I’m not even talking about female-led movies.
And people still claim that Zack Snyder, um, “hates” women?
He deserves better.
I don’t even know what to think. I believe the world deserves something better than a whitewashing, all-white male, POC-and-women-only-existing-to-serve-as-sidekicks-or-love-interests franchise. I believe that we all need to take some time to truly appreciate the DCEU for what it’s doing for its movies and cast, and the future of superhero movies - empowering women, not holding back when women are powerful on screen, has probably the most diverse cast of all of Hollywood franchises, to be honest, and NOT having them as useless plot devices.