SpaceX's first operational crew mission adds additional NASA and JAXA astronauts

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 2, 2020

Recent astronaut classes have ranged from eight to 12.

On Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20, SpaceX teams in Firing Room 4 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the company's Mission Control in Hawthorne, California, along with NASA flight controllers in Mission Control Houston, executed a full simulation of launch and docking of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley (front) participating in SpaceX's flight simulator.

Applications were gotten from every USA state, the Area of Columbia, and 4 US territories.

This new course also may launch aboard NASA's powerful brand-new Room Launch System rocket as well as Orion spacecraft for Artemis missions to the Moon.

The number of applications was the second-highest the agency had ever received.

The new class plans to send the first woman and next man to the Moon at the beginning of 2024. Gaining insights from new experiences on and around the Moon will prepare NASA to send the first humans to Mars in the 2030s.

NASA has filled the final seat aboard the first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon flight selecting Shannon Walker. All NASA centers now operate with non-mission-critical remote work, which limits employee contact with the crew, the agency said. NASA astronaut Shannon Walker and Japanese Spaceflyer Soichi Noguchi will be flying to the worldwide space station aboard in the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft during the voyage.

The application for the newest class of astronauts opened up March 2 and also shut March 31.

"We're able to build such a strong astronaut corps at NASA because we have such a strong pool of applicants to choose from", said Anne Roemer, manager of the Astronaut Selection Board and director of human resources at Johnson.

"It's always awesome to see the diversity of education, experience and skills that are represented in our applicants". The space agency tightened its qualifications this time, requiring at least a master's degrees in science, technology, engineering or math. "We are excited to start reviewing astronaut applications to identify the next class of astronaut candidates". The monthlong application period ended Tuesday.

Selected candidates can look forward to two years of training in skills like spacewalking, robotics, and spacecraft systems.

SpaceX and Boeing were contracted by NASA as part of the Commercial Crew Program to develop spacecraft capable of sending astronauts safely to the International Space Station on a regular basis. "We hope everyone takes a few moments to explore NASA at Home".

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