| November 15, 2011 | 1:43pm
Strap in and buckle up: NASA representatives announced this afternoon that the space agency is looking for its next class of astronauts to continue its space program.
"For 50 years, American astronauts have led the exploration of our solar system," NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in webcasted national press conference. "Today we are getting a glimpse of why that will remain true for the next half-century. Make no mistake about it, human space flight is alive and well at NASA."
NASA will recruit the next class of scientists, engineers, and space fiends to support the International Space Station and to participate in future deep space exploration missions
According to Bolden, the new team will conduct research aboard the space station that will benefit life on Earth while developing skills needed for longer flights into the solar system.
Bolden said that while the class of 2009 was the first astronaut class to graduate in a "new era" of space flight (following the space shuttle's final mission), the organization must maintain its strength for future exploration opportunities.
In addition to educational qualifications and U.S. citizenship (nope, NASA's not looking for that kind of alien), NASA's key requirements include:
- a pre-employment background investigation
- regular passing of drug-testing
- Frequent travel (seriously)
- a pre-employment medical examination