NASA introduces new batch of candidates for completed astronauts, 13-member team nicknamed “Turtles”

Today, NASA released a list of 13 astronaut candidates. NASA Director Jim Bridenine said at a ceremony in Houston that they will be eligible to be formally assigned to an upcoming space mission. This class of students, nicknamed “Turtles,” is likely to make the latest commercial aircraft fly-to-fly from the International Space Station. Or become a first-time astronaut on the Artemis project and return to the moon in the near future.

(Pictured: NASA, via TheVerge)

The Turtles team consists of seven men and six women, two of whom were selected by NASA in 2017 and the rest selected by NASA in the same year.

In fact, NASA originally selected 12 people, but for unknown reasons, one of the candidates had to drop out before graduation. So in 2016 NASA issued a call-up notice, re-selecting from nearly 18,300 applicants.

The agency has specific requirements for candidates, including a degree in science or engineering, as well as certain types of flight experience.

(Photo from: NASA)

After more than 2 years of training, Turtle graduates took to the stage at Johnson Space Center to introduce and praise each other’s talents for their new teammates. The current team is waiting for the first crew tasks, which may take some time.

Take NASA’s 2013 astronauts, who are just beginning to take part in space missions. Because there were eight people, the team was nicknamed Eight Balls.

The network’s celebrity astronauts, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, both from the class, carried out their first all-female spacewalk last October, and Koch holds the record for the longest time a woman is stuck in space.