The lights dimmed.

The music swelled.

And then, one by one, NASA’s 2017 class of astronauts walked triumphantly onto the stage Wednesday at Johnson Space Center. Wearing the agency’s iconic blue flight suits, they beamed and waved, enjoying a singular moment in their lives.

Aged from 28 to 42 years, they had already accomplished much. Now they were ready for more: to serve their country, fly into undiscovered country, and meet unknown dangers.
NASA chose its 12 new astronaut candidates from an astonishingly deep pool of more than 18,300 applicants, and the final class of seven men and five women boasted an impressive array of backgrounds, from working as fighter pilots and engineers, to marine biologists and physicians.

After about two years of training, they will become full-fledged astronauts ready for flight assignments.
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