NASA began a search for astronauts on Tuesday in its biggest ever push to hire new crew members. With veteran astronauts leaving the space agency, NASA is considering the needs of the future.
“We need people to help plan for this future of exploration,” says NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
Although the space shuttle fleet has recently retired, a handful of astronauts are needed each year for a trip to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz spaceship. And while it's more than a decade away, NASA eventually hopes to fly astronauts in a government-owned Orion capsule to an asteroid or even Mars.
The program is open to U.S. citizens who must meet the following requirements:
Given these certain flight requirements, NASA expects to receive around 3,000 qualified applications. The final selection for this latest candidate class won't be made until 2013.
“Join NASA. Get your application in now for the 2013 astronaut candidate class. Your spaceflight experience begins right now,” says Bolden.
With files from The Associated Press