NASA has eight new astronauts — its first new batch in four years.
The space agency announced its newest astronaut class Monday. Among the lucky candidates: the first female fighter pilot to become an astronaut in nearly two decades. A female helicopter pilot also is in the group. In fact, four of the eight are women, the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected by NASA.
The eight were chosen from the second largest pool of applications ever received — over 6,100 — NASA said.
Among them are Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35, a Marine Corps major and F/A 18 pilot; and Anne McClain, 34, a major in the US Army and OH-58 helicopter pilot.
The others are Jessica Meir, 35, an assistant professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and Christina Hammock, 34, who is National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Station Chief in American Samoa.
The male astronaut candidates are former naval aviator Josh Cassada, 39; Navy lieutenant commander and F/A 18 pilot Victor Glover, 37; Tyler Hague, 37, a US Air Force colonel working to tackle improvised explosive devices; and Andrew Morgan, 37, an army major and physician of emergency medicine.