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      NASA picks new 8 new astronauts

      AP File Photo

      CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA has eight new astronauts - its first new batch in four years.

      The space agency announced its newest astronaut class Monday. Among the lucky candidates: the first female fighter pilot to become an astronaut in nearly two decades. A female helicopter pilot also is in the group. In fact, four of the eight are women, the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates ever selected by NASA.

      The eight were chosen from more than 6,000 applications, the second largest number ever received. They will report for duty in August at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

      NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says these new candidates will help lead the first human mission to an asteroid, and then Mars.