NASA Welcomes New Class of Astronauts
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The United States named 12 new astronauts this week.
The astronauts will work for NASA, the American space agency.
The astronaut class of 2017 includes doctors, scientists, engineers, pilots and military officers. Seven are men and five are women. The youngest is 29 years old. The oldest is 42.
Vice President Mike Pence officially welcomed the group during a ceremony Wednesday at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Pence offered congratulations from President Donald Trump. He said the president is "firmly committed to NASA's noble mission, leading America in space."
More than 18,300 people applied to become astronauts. NASA says they contacted the space agency during a short application period that began in late 2015. That is more than double the record number of 8,000. The earlier record was set in 1978, when the agency was preparing for the first launch in its space shuttle program.
The 12 new astronauts will join 44 astronauts already with NASA. The last time the space agency launched astronauts from American soil was 2011, when the space shuttles were retired. Since then, NASA has depended on the Russian space program to get Americans to the International Space Station.
However, that could change next year.
After two years of training, the new astronauts could travel to the space station or fly beyond the moon in NASA's Orion spacecraft. But the space agency would depend on private businesses for rockets and other equipment.
SpaceX and Boeing are building capsules to carry astronauts to the space station and back. Those vehicles could be ready for use as soon as next year.
A launch engineer and top official with SpaceX, Robb Kulin, is among the 12 new astronauts. "Hopefully, one day, I will actually fly on a vehicle that ... I got to design," he said.
Kulin and his classmates may be in for a long wait, however. Some members of the class of 2009 have yet to launch.
This is NASA's 22nd group of astronauts. The first group, the Mercury 7 astronauts, was chosen in 1959.
Three hundred fifty Americans have been chosen to become astronauts. Requirements include U.S. citizenship; college degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics; and at least three years of experience or 1,000 hours of piloting jets.
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1.space agency 航天局
The Helios aircraft is an American space agency support project.
2.college degrees 大学学历
The statisticians averaged out the number of people receiving college degrees in every one thousand persons.
3.travel to 去；前往
You had better travel to Helsinki tomorrow.
4.depended on 依赖于
I depended on his companionship and on his judgment
1.Those vehicles could be ready for use as soon as next year.
as soon as 一...就；尽快
As soon as we found this out, we closed the ward.
He got married as soon as he graduated.
2.Since then, NASA has depended on the Russian space program to get Americans to the International Space Station.
Since then 从此以后
Since then he has been drawing a pension.
Since then I've been waiting on events.
2017届的这批宇航员中有医生、科学家、工程师、飞行员和军官 。该队伍由7名男性和5名女性组成 。他们的年龄介于29岁至42岁 。
周三，美国副总统彭斯（Mike Pence）在德州休斯敦的约翰逊航天中心仪式上对他们表示了欢迎 。
彭斯还向他们转达了总统特朗普的祝贺 。他表示，总统将“坚定支持NASA的崇高使命——在太空中引领美国” 。
此次申请宇航员的人数超过18300名 。NASA称，他们从2015年底开始进行短期招募 。而这次的报名人数比1978年的8000人申请纪录高出一倍还多，当时的NASA正在着手准备第一次航天飞机发射计划 。
12名新人将加入到NASA现有的44名宇航员队伍中 。2011年，美国最后一架航天飞机发射升空，之后所有航天飞机全部退役 。此后，NASA一直依赖俄罗斯运送宇航员前往国际空间站 。
经过两年的训练，新一批宇航员将搭乘“猎户座”飞船前往空间站或者飞越月球 。不过，NASA将依靠私人企业研发火箭和其他运输设备 。
SpaceX公司与波音公司正在共同研制运送宇航员往返于空间站的“太空舱” 。预计，“太空舱”最快将于明年投入使用 。
SpaceX公司的项目工程师兼高管——罗博·古林（Robb Kulin）就是新加入的宇航员之一 。他表示：“希望有朝一日，我能够乘坐自己参与设计的飞船飞行 。”
然而，古林和他的伙伴们可能还需要等待一段时间 。2009年招募的宇航员中还有几位仍未启用 。
这是NASA招募的第22批宇航员 。该机构在1959年的水星计划中招募了首批7名宇航员 。
截止目前，NASA已经招募了350名宇航员 。选拔的具体条件包括：美国公民；拥有科学、技术、工程或数学领域的学位；至少三年相关专业工作经验或至少1000小时飞机驾驶经验 。