NASA Picks 12 New Astronauts From 18,300 Applicants

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – NASA has chosen 12 new astronauts from its biggest pool of applicants ever.

Vice President Mike Pence attended Wednesday’s announcement of the Astronaut Class of 2017 at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

More than 18,300 people threw their hats into the space ring. That’s more than double the previous record of 8,000, set in 1978 when the space shuttles were close to launching.

The seven men and five women selected Wednesday will join 44 astronauts already in the NASA corps. U.S. astronauts haven’t launched from home soil since 2011. But that could change next year.

After two years of training, the newbies may end up riding commercial rockets to the International Space Station, or flying beyond the moon in NASA’s Orion spacecraft. Their ultimate destination could be Mars.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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