Feeds

6,300 wannabe astronauts flood NASA inbox

Second-highest number of applications since 1978

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

NASA has received the second-highest number of astronaut applications ever for the 21st astronaut class when more than 6,300 people signed up to be space invaders.

NASA astronaut Mike Fossum in spacewalk training

NASA astronaut Mike Fossum in spacewalk training. Credit: NASA

The US space agency usually receives around 2,500 to 3,500 applications when it announces astronaut vacancies - but between 15 November and 27 January, NASA fielded the most candidates since 1978, a year in which 8,000 people applied to boldly go.

The successful candidates will get two years of initial training, where they'll be taught a raft of astro-abilities including fiddling with space station systems, Russian and a few spacewalking skills.

However, the eager applicants are going to have some time to wait before they find out if they will be in the queue to blast off the planet, since the final candidates won't be chosen until the spring of 2013.

"We will be looking for people who really stand out," said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Selection Board. "Our team not only will be looking at their academic background and professional accomplishments but also at other elements of their personality and character traits - what types of hobbies they have or unique life experiences. We want and need a mix of individuals and skills for this next phase of human exploration."

Whitson didn't mention – although it's implied by the long application process – that patience is going to be a large part of the astronaut game.

Even when the dollars were flowing, frequent trips past Earth's atmosphere weren't really a part of the NASA 'nauts life – it was more like every two or three years. Now that the agency has retired the space shuttles and the government is cutting funding left, right and centre, the current crop of candidates can expect to see space about once every 10 years when they head to the International Space Station.

However, NASA is ever hopeful that Space X and other commercial outfits will pick up the slack and get some regular blast-offs going.

"Our newest astronauts could launch aboard the first commercial rockets to the space station, the next generation of scientists and engineers who will help us reach higher and create an American economy that is built to last," said NASA administrator Charles Bolden. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.