NASA is preparing to select a new class of astronauts for 2017. At the application due date on February 18, there were more than 18,300 hopefuls. That is nearly three times the number of applications NASA received the last time a class was selected, in 2012. The previous record was in 1978, when 8,00 people applied. However, NASA selected 35 astronauts in 1978, while it is only picking 8-14 this time. As NASA’s space shuttle program is shut down, the number of flight opportunities for these astronauts has decreased. But candidates are hopeful for more flights as a commercial space program expands. The chosen candidates will undergo two years of intense training at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.