Bugging Out: Astronauts test a prototype of a six-legged lunar buggy at Moses Lake in Washington. NASA
Three test pilots. Two flight surgeons. One molecular biologist. A flight controller, a Pentagon staffer and a CIA intelligence officer. These are the nine people chosen by NASA to be America’s next astronauts. Late this summer they reported to Houston along with two Japanese pilots, a Japanese doctor, a Canadian pilot and a Canadian physicist who will train alongside NASA’s class of 2009. Call them the lucky 14.
Selected from more than 3,500 applicants, NASA’s new astronaut candidates arrive at a pivotal moment in the history of human space exploration. The agency’s bold ambition is to rocket humans beyond the International Space Station for the first time in more than 40 years. The question is when.