More than 12,000 individuals submitted applications to NASA for consideration to be named one of 10 astronaut candidates. The 10 candidates chosen will train with the hope of joining NASA's first mission to the moon in over 50 years, NPR reports

The agency announced its selected candidates, which include Andre Douglas, 35. Douglas will train for about two years alongside his comrades to become qualified for spaceflight. Training starts in January.

Douglas hails from Virginia and acquired a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, a master's degree in electrical and computer engineering from Johns Hopkins and a doctorate in systems engineering from George Washington University, according to his NASA biography. 

The 35-year-old obtained his professional engineering license in the state of Virginia. He served in the Coast Guard as a naval architect, officer of the deck, damage control assistant and salvage engineer. Douglas also was a staff member of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, where he worked on maritime robotics, planetary defense and space exploration missions, according to his biography. 

Additionally, he lends his expertise to advocate for youth through robotics competitions and junior achievement programs. 

As an astronaut candidate, Douglas' team will benefit greatly from his vast experience. Douglas played an integral part of the fault management team as it was developing the DART planetary defense mission. He also assisted the systems engineering team on MEGANE, a complex gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer instrument created to aid the Mars Moons eXploration spacecraft that was designed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 

The main requirements to become an astronaut include U.S. citizenship, a master's degree in a STEM-based field and at least three years of experience or 1,000 recorded hours of handling jets, NPR reports. Each applicant must also undergo and pass a NASA astronaut physical.

“We’ve made many giant leaps throughout the last 60 years, fulfilling President Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon. Today we reach further into the stars as we push forward to the Moon once again and on to Mars with NASA’s newest astronaut candidate class,” Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche said in a news release.

Douglas joins the other nine elected for the 2021 astronaut candidate class.