Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Astronaut School Nasa's Future Explorers Will Be an Elite Group

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Astronaut School Nasa's Future Explorers Will Be an Elite Group

Article excerpt

This is the time of year when high school seniors eagerly await an acceptance letter from the college of their choice. While the nation's most selective schools have acceptance rates in single-digit percents, NASA is sifting through a record pool of 18,300 applicants for a mere eight to 14 slots in its next astronaut candidates class.

With odds like that, the chances of being picked for space training are more daunting than getting into an Ivy League school.

Now that NASA's Feb. 18 deadline for applicants has passed, the agency's 18-month winnowing process has begun. Caution to English majors: NASA insists that future astronauts have college degrees in mathematics, science or engineering.

NASA staff will look at 400 to 600 applicants who survive the initial purge and identify those who pass reference and background checks. …

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