Written by By Andrea Baum , CNN
Ten new astronauts have officially joined the ranks of NASA’s astronaut corps, made up of roughly 400 human explorers.
NASA’s recruitment program has been more selective over the past few years, having cut the number of applicants by nearly a third. During the launch ceremony, two men and eight women accepted the invitation to join NASA.
The first of the ten was Stephanie Wilson, an aerospace engineer currently working on the International Space Station (ISS) project and robotics program.
Wilson said she was excited to be one of the first females to join NASA’s astronaut program. She told CNN she was “really excited to do it and join the legacy of the first female astronauts.”
Another new hire was Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger. Since she isn’t a scientist, Metcalf-Lindenburger said she has been collecting dinosaur bones “for as long as I can remember.”
Metcalf-Lindenburger was just 25 when she began training for a shot at space.
“I would like to think it’s just a good time and I have the opportunity,” Metcalf-Lindenburger said. “But I think we’ve seen the importance of science in our day to day lives and certainly in terms of what we do on the space station as well. So I think that that certainly played into why NASA chose me to train at the Johnson Space Center.”
Elizabeth Robinson, a former Naval Aviator, worked on combatting sexual harassment within the military.
A former sexual assault survivor, Robinson said she was just a child when she was sexually assaulted. She said the time was just after she finished serving in Iraq.
“I vividly remember the most incredible sense of relief,” Robinson said. “It was a very joyful emotion for me to be there, to be on the planet, to have that for the first time in my life.”
Robinson said she is most thankful for the support she received from her parents, husband and friends. “I’d like to encourage every woman with an ambition, an energy, and a desire to take on this challenge that is pretty incredible, to go and apply,” she said.
A new batch of women will join the astronaut corps at the end of the year.