NASA’s next astronaut class graduates March 5, and you can watch it live (video) | Space

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NASA’s latest group of astronaut candidates will graduate Tuesday (March 5) alongside two candidates from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and you can watch it live.

NASA Group 23 of astronaut candidates, informally known as “The Flies”, will become eligible for space missions alongside the second astronaut candidate group from the UAE. You can watch their graduation ceremony at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston here at Space.com, via NASA Television, starting at 10:30 a.m. EST (9:30 a.m. local time or 1530 GMT).

The 12 astronaut candidates, all selected in 2021, have completed 2.5 years of basic training. Their graduation to full astronaut status means they are all eligible for a spaceflight, although that may not happen right away depending on the needs of the space program.

Related: Watch NASA announce its next astronaut class in this webcast replay

NASA’s astronaut candidate class of 2021 is pictured at an event near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Dec. 7, 2021. (Image credit: NASA/James Blair)The new astronauts are on the eve of a huge shift in the human spaceflight program. The class will likely witness the end of the International Space Station (ISS) program, now expected no earlier than 2030, and the transition to new commercial space stations that will host professional astronauts.

If all goes to plan, this group will also fly to the moon’s surface and to NASA’s lunar-orbiting Gateway space station to support the Artemis program that aims to land astronauts at the moon’s south pole no earlier than 2026. This will make The Flies among the first astronauts to do moon missions since the Apollo astronauts of the 1960s and 1970s, more than half a century ago.

As a group, the graduating class undertook duties ranging from wilderness expeditions to testing spaceflight systems to learning how to work in groups in isolated situations.

Additionally, they learned the mechanics of what they’ll need to do in space: “All astronaut candidates have…

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