Tanner STS-115 Spacewalk

Astronaut Joseph R. Tanner, STS-115 mission specialist, waves at the camera during a space walk. NASA will be seeking applications for astronauts starting in December.
Credit: NASA/JPL

Calling all aspiring astronauts: NASA announced today (Nov. 4) that it will be accepting applications starting in December for its next round of astronaut training.

Currently, there are 47 active members in NASA’s astronaut corp., with the last group of new astronauts selected in 2013. Applications for the new class will be accepted from mid-December through mid-February, and those selected to begin astronaut training will be announced in mid-2017.

“With more human spacecraft in development in the United States today than at any other time in history, future astronauts will launch once again from the Space Coast of Florida on American-made commercial spacecraft and carry out deep-space exploration missions that will advance a future human mission to Mars,” said NASA in a statement. [Related: How to Become as Astronaut]

The current and upcoming generations of space fliers will be considered for missions to the International Space Station, which has housed human inhabitants for 15 consecutive years, has served as a laboratory for over 1,700 microgravity experiments and offers a way to test the requirements of supporting humans in space (which will be extremely relevant for longer-duration trips to places like Mars).

full article for future astronauts here Space.com