After receiving a record-breaking number of applications to join an exciting future of space exploration, NASA has selected its largest astronaut class since 2000. Rising to the top of more than 18,300 applicants, NASA chose 12 women and men as the agency?s new astronaut candidates. Vice President Mike Pence joined Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa, and Flight Operations Director Brian Kelly to welcome the new astronaut candidates during an event June 7 at the agency?s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The astronaut candidates will return to Johnson in August to begin two years of training. Then they could be assigned to any of a variety of missions: performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, and departing for deep space missions on NASA?s new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.
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