HOUSTON—If there is a mold for the best and brightest, the eight new NASA Astronauts introduced Tuesday morning at the Johnson Space Center are it.
“NASA is an organization with a goal that is as important as it can get. Which is to move us all forward,” said new Astronaut Christina Hammock.
The fact that they are the ones now reaching for the stars is still sinking in.
“I don’t think that it really has yet. Every time we do something it continues to remind you that: Wow, this is really happening,” said new astronaut Victor Glover.
It is a well rounded group.
The eight include two Navy test pilots, a Marine Corps pilot, an Air Force flyer, an Army Helicopter pilot, an Army doctor who is also an elite Black Knight Parachutist, a professor at Harvard Medical School, and a weather station chief who also designs space equipment.
To become a part of this elite eight was quite a task. The application process lasts nearly two years with more than 6,000 applicants.
For now, the International Space Station is the only option, but they are the future space explorers.
“Some of them will probably get an opportunity to participate in an asteroid mission. They definitely will form the plans that will take us on to Mars,” said former astronaut and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
The elite eight are already bringing lessons in persistence.
“I submitted my first application a little over ten years ago and I am thrilled to be here,” said Josh Casada.
They are already teaching the next generation.
“Don’t think so much about what you are accomplishing, but how you accomplish it. Be a good team member. Be a good leader,” said new astronaut and Army Helicopter pilot Major Anne McClain.
US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Victor Glover is soon to reach for the stars, but wandering Building 9 the home of the Astronaut Corps at the Johnson Space Center, for now he is just star struck, “Being in this room. This is where we work! And that is...I don’t know if it will ever sink in. I am OK with that!”
The adventure starts now.