NASA will announce a new class of astronaut candidates on Wednesday. Prior to the big reveal, existing members of the Astronaut Corps recorded a series of messages to greet the next generation of space-going people. The welcome video is a fun and informative peek into the world of astronauts, who must undergo rigorous training for the chance to rocket off the planet.
The video, posted on Monday, kicks off with Peggy Whitson, class of 1996, who is currently on board the International Space Station. She spins around in microgravity and says, "This is the most, I can guarantee, the most unique environment that you will ever work in. We love it."
Michael Barratt, class of 2000, says he remembers how he felt "totally outclassed" at the beginning of his training. "And you should, too. You've got a ton of work ahead of you and we'll not be making it easy for you." Other astronauts offer advice to have fun and to not talk for the first three years.
Current ISS astronaut Jack Fischer, class of 2009, gives a quick "office" tour of the space station. "Your job is to take the wonder and amazement that we get to see every day and share it with the world, and ignite their passion to explore, too."
Over 18,000 people applied for the 2017 class. NASA's basic requirements are "US citizenship, a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field and at least three years of related experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft."
The new astronaut candidates will begin training this August in a program that will cover everything from spacewalking skills to flight training and learning Russian to communicate with other expedition members on the ISS. NASA selected the previous astronaut class in 2013.
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