After a record-shattering number of people applied for the job, the newest members of NASA’s astronaut corps will be revealed today (June 7). You can watch the big announcement live here starting at 2 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).
The live event, which will take place at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, the new astronaut candidates will be welcomed by acting NASA administrator Robert Lightfoot, JSC director Ellen Ochoa, and Flight Operations director Brian Kelly.
Vice President Mike Pence will also be there to welcome the new astronaut class, according to a statement from NASA. However, the statement did not specify whether the Vice President plans to make any remarks on-stage during the event. [What It’s Like to Become a NASA Astronaut: 10 Surprising Facts]
While becoming an astronaut has never been an easy feat, this year’s class of astronauts had to defy even greater odds than their predecessors. NASA received more than 18,000 applications this time around, crushing the previous record of about 8,000 in 1978.
The last group of NASA astronaut candidates was announced in June 2013 after nearly 6,400 people applied for the job. Formally known as Group 21, that group of rookie astronauts nicknamed themselves the “8-balls.”
Fun team names have been a long-standing tradition for astronauts at NASA as well as the European Space Agency. Other groups have been the “Chumps,” “Shenanigans” and “Flying Escargot,” for example. As of now, the astronauts of Group 22 haven’t announced their nickname.
After two years of astronaut training, the new astronaut candidates will spend two years in training before they become eligible to fly in space, joining the 44 other active members of NASA’s astronaut corps.
Once they’re ready to go to space, these astronauts will likely end up doing research on the International Space Station, “launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies,” NASA officials said, adding that they may also launch on deep-space missions on the new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket, slated to launch as soon as 2019.