NASA just released the names of 12 new astronauts for 2017. This is the largest class of new trainees since the year 2000. There were more than 18,000 applicants. The introduction ceremony was held at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Vice President Mike Pence joined in as the the class of 2017 was announced.

“These are 12 men and women whose personal excellence and whose personal courage will carry our nation to even greater heights of discovery 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,” said Vice President Pence

“We look forward to the energy and talent of these astronauts fueling our exciting future of discovery,” acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said. “Between expanding the crew on board the space station to conduct more research than ever before, and making preparations to send humans farther into space than we’ve ever been, we are going to keep them busy. These candidates are an important addition to the NASA family and the nation’s human spaceflight team.”  – NASA

There have now been 350 astronauts selected by NASA since 1959.

Featured image by Robert Markowitz, NASA