NASA has chosen ten new astronaut candidates among twelve thousand applicants from all over the United States. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson unveiled the new members of the 2021 astronaut class (the first new class in four years) on December 6 at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Here's the complete list of the new candidates:

  1. Nichole Ayers, U.S. Air Force Maj
  2. Marcos Berríos, U.S. Air Force Maj.
  3. Christina Birch
  4. Deniz Burnham, U.S. Navy Lt.
  5. Luke Delaney, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. (retired.)
  6. Andre Douglas
  7. Jack Hathaway, U.S. Navy Cmdr.
  8. Anil Menon, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col.
  9. Christopher Williams
  10. Jessica Wittner, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr.

The youngest candidate was Nichole Ayers, 32, a U.S. Air Force major, originally from Colorado, who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with a bachelor's degree in mathematics with a minor in Russian.

In general, the average age of astronaut candidates is 35-40 years. This year, NASA required candidates to hold a master's degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) for the first time.

The candidates are now set to begin their two-year training at Johnson Space Center in January 2022. Their training is divided into five main categories: operating and maintaining the complex systems of the International Space Station, preparing for spacewalks, developing complex robotics skills, safely operating the T-38 training jet, and the skills of the Russian language.

After completing their training, the astronauts can be assigned to exploration missions aboard the ISS, space flights by private companies, as well as deep-space missions, including a flight to the Moon in the future.