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Record Number of Americans Apply to #BeAnAstronaut


On Dec. 14, 2015, we announced that astronaut applications were open on USAJOBS. The window for applications closed on Feb. 18. We’re happy to announce that we have received more than 18,300 applications from excited individuals from around the country, all hoping to join the 2017 astronaut class. This surpasses the more than 6,100 received in 2012 for the most recent astronaut class, and the previous record – 8,000 applicants in 1978. 


So you applied to be an astronaut…now what?

Since the applications closed on Feb. 18, many people are curious to know…what’s next? Let us help you navigate the selection process:


Now that we have received all the applications, we will review them to determine the “Highly Qualified” applicants. This process will take place through summer 2016.

What is a “Highly Qualified” Applicant?

The diversity of experiences is what separates the highly qualified from qualified. Experience that demonstrates good leadership, fellowship and decision making are beneficial.

Between fall 2016 and spring 2017, interviewees will be brought to Johnson Space Center for evaluation. This process will help us determine the finalists, which takes place in spring 2017. 

Finally, in summer 2017, the Astronaut Candidate Class of 2017 is announced! These candidates will report to Johnson Space Center starting in August 2017. 

To view the full astronaut candidate selection process timeline, visit:

*Note that the high volume of applications received, dates in the timeline could be adjusted. 

Why do we need more astronauts?


We are continuing human spaceflight on the International Space Station, which has a continuous crew of six people on board. The Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew spacecraft that will travel to the station both have seats for four astronauts (the current Soyuz spacecraft, on which astronauts travel, only has three). This will add a seventh astronaut to the orbiting laboratory, and enable us to do more science!

How many astronauts will be selected?

The exact number will be determined by mission requirements, but current analysis shows about 8 – 14 astronauts will be needed. The final number will depend on updates to program plans, budgets, etc. 

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Source: NASA

Record Number of Americans Apply to #BeAnAstronaut

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