NASA will discuss its new astronaut recruits during a Google+ Hangout session today (June 17) at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT). You can watch the hangout live here on SPACE.com, or directly at: http://go.nasa.gov/126mOLK.
GALLERY: NASA's Asteroid Capture Mission
The new spaceflyer hopefuls were selected from more than 6,000 applications - the second largest applicant pool NASA's ever had. With the new class being evenly split between men and women, it represents the largest percentage of female astronaut candidates in any new class. [Women in Space: A Space History Gallery]
The last new cohort of NASA astronauts was selected in 2009, and included nine new candidates. They officially graduated in November 2011, but none have flown to space yet. Michael Hopkins will be the first of that group to fly when he launches in September to the International Space Station.
The new candidates, NASA's 21st astronaut class, will report to the Johnson Space Center for training in August.
"This year we have selected eight highly qualified individuals who have demonstrated impressive strengths academically, operationally and physically," said Janet Kavandi, director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center. "They have diverse backgrounds and skill sets that will contribute greatly to the existing astronaut corps. Based on their incredible experiences to date, I have every confidence that they will apply their combined expertise and talents to achieve great things for NASA and this country in the pursuit of human exploration."