This spring NASA plans to announce their latest class of astronauts. 9 to 15 candidates will be chosen for training to begin in August of this year. The space agency received more than 6,300 applications for a space program that doesn’t have a shuttle program anymore. The 6,300 applicants were the second largest number of hopeful astronauts since 1978, when more than 8,000 people applied during a recruitment drive.

Currently American astronauts are being taken to space on Russian space craft to and from the international space station, but NASA is encouraging private U.S. companies to build commercial ‘space taxis’ to help America regain some of the space travel we lost. In 1999 NASA had 150 active astronauts but that number dwindled to 58 today, once the announcement came about halting the space program. The U.S. plans are to have another space trip around 2017 to 2021.