Active NASA Astronauts
NASA Astronauts selected since 1959
More than 12,000 people applied to be an astronaut when NASA last accepted applications in 2020. From that pool, 10 people were chosen as astronaut candidates in December 2021, and are now training to become NASA astronauts.
To date, NASA has selected 360 astronaut candidates to fly on its increasingly challenging missions to explore space. More are needed to see the space station into its third decade of science in low-Earth orbit and propel exploration forward as part of the Artemis missions and beyond.
The first U.S. astronauts were selected in 1959, before human spaceflight operations began. NASA asked the military services to provide a list of personnel who met specific qualifications. After stringent screening, NASA announced its selection of seven men, all pilots, as the first American astronauts. NASA has selected 22 more groups of astronauts since the “Original Seven.” The backgrounds of NASA’s latest group of Astronaut Candidates include doctors, physicists, engineers, and a member of the Team USA Track Cycling Team.
NASA selects astronauts from a diverse pool of applicants with a wide variety of backgrounds. From the thousands of applications received, only a few are chosen for the intensive Astronaut Candidate training program.