Feeds

6,300 wannabe astronauts flood NASA inbox

Second-highest number of applications since 1978

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.