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The “right stuff”: Meet NASA’s 12 newest astronauts

ASTRONAUTS

NASA

NASA's 2017 astronaut candidates take a group photo at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center. Pictured are, front row, left to right, Zena Cardman, Jasmin Moghbeli, Robb Kulin, Jessica Watkins, Loral O'Hara; back row, left to right, Jonny Kim, Frank Rubio, Matthew Dominick, Warren Hoburg, Kayla Barron, Bob Hines, and Raja Chari.

Zelda Caldwell - published on 06/13/17 - updated on 06/13/17

The newest class of recruits were chosen out of more than 18,300 applicants.

Out of a record-breaking 18,300 applicants to NASA’s space program, 12 were chosen to join the newest class of astronaut candidates. Vice President Mike Spence was on hand last week at the Johnson Space Center in Houston to announce the new recruits.

“These are 12 men and women whose personal excellence and whose personal courage will carry our nation to even greater heights of discovery,” said Pence, according to a CNN report. “And who I know will inspire our children and our grandchildren every bit as much as your forebears have done so in this storied American program.”

What does it take to join this elite crew? Just a bit of “the right stuff,” to borrow a phrase from the author Tom Wolfe, whose 1979 book by that name acquainted the world with the mental and physical characteristics shared by astronauts. Check out the newest astronauts’ inspiring stories here:

Kayla Barron, 29, Zena Cardman, 29, Raja Chari, 39, Matthew Dominick, 35, Bob Hines, 42, Warren “Woody” Hoburg, 31, Dr. Jonny Kim, 33, Robb Kulin, 33, Jasmin Moghbeli, 33, Loral O’Hara, 34, Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio, 41 and Jessica Watkins, 29.

After two years of training, the recruits could be assigned to deep space missions, researching at the the International Space Station or joining missions aboard spacecrafts built by commercial companies, according to the CNN report.

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