U.S. space agency NASA announced on Wednesday it has chose 12 new astronauts for future missions to the Earth orbit and destinations in deep space.
The seven men and five women, aged 29 to 42, included a surgeon, a research engineer, a resident physician, an assistant professor, students and military officers.
"We look forward to the energy and talent of these astronauts fueling our exciting future of discovery," acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement.
The new astronauts will report to the U.S. space agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston in August to begin their two-year training in spacecraft systems, spacewalking skills, teamwork, Russian language and other necessary skills.
Then, they could be assigned to any of a variety of missions, including performing research on the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, and departing for deep space missions on NASA's new Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket, NASA said.
The 12 astronauts were chosen from more than 18,300 people who submitted applications from December 2015 to February 2016.
That figure was more than double the previous record of 8,000 set in 1978, NASA said.
It was also almost three times the number of applications the agency received in 2012 for the recent astronaut class.
Requirements to apply were U.S. citizenship, a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in a science, technology, engineering or math field and at least three years of related experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.
With the latest annoucement, NASA now has selected 350 astronauts since the original "Mercury Seven" in 1959.