In prepared remarks he made at Johnson Space Center, Pence said the Donald Trumpadministration, which proposed $19.1 billion for NASA in its 2018 budget, backed the agency’s efforts to explore space, including its efforts to eventually send humans to Mars.
“To these courageous, newly minted heroes on this stage, our administration will be true,” he said after the 12 astronauts had been announced. “NASA will have the resources and support you need to continue to make history: to push the boundaries of humankind and continue America’s leadership to the boundaries and frontiers of space.”
The class of 12 astronauts, who were on hand for the announcement, will start a two-year training program in August.
NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot talked about the importance of the announcement.
“This is one of the iconic things we get to do as an agency,” he said. “You guys represent a great part of this country. It makes me personally feel very inadequate when I see what they have done.”
NASA received nearly 18,000 applications for the jobs.
Lightfoot referenced the continuing effort by NASA and private sector companies to reach Mars.
“One of these folks behind me could be the one to take that next iconic leap,” he said.
One candidate, Frank Rubio, 41, hails from Florida. He graduated from Miami Sunset Senior High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
The rest of the 2017 class:
Kayla Barron of Richland, Wash.; Zena Cardman of Williamsburg, Va.; Raja Chari of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Matthew Dominick of Wheat Ridge, Colo.; Bob Hines of Harrisburg, Pa.; Warren Hoburg of Pittsburgh; Jonny Kim of Los Angeles; Robb Kulin of Anchorage, Alaska; Jasmin Moghbeli of Baldwin, N.Y.; Loral O’Hara of Sugar Land, Texas; Jessica Watkins of Lafayette, Colo.
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