WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- NASA announced this week that it is accepting applications for the next class of astronauts, even if the agency doesn't have a spaceship ready for them to ride. This will be the first class of astronaut candidates since the space shuttle retired last summer.
The announcement was made Tuesday at NASA's headquarters in Washington, and it was accompanied by a multimedia recruitment blitz on sites like YouTube and Twitter. You can evenapply online on theUSAJobs.gov website.
Up to 15 astronauts will be selectedby early 2013. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden says the new astronauts could someday fly to an asteroid on the new Orion spaceship and heavy-lift rocket. But for now, their only ride into orbit is on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station.
Qualifications include a bachelor's degree in engineering, science, or math, and at least three years of related, professional work experience. Applicants must also have vision correctable to 20/20 in each eye, blood pressure not above 140/90 in a sitting position, and a height between 62 inches and 75 inches. You also have to pass a drug test, background check, and "frequent travel may be required."
If you think you have the right stuff, the deadline to apply is Jan. 27, 2012.