One for the trivia geeks! Or you know, kids. Do kids still get into space history these days? Do they still want to be astronauts? Let's hope so, because sometimes it can be both fun and humorous. The previous class of astronauts bestows a nickname on every new class of astronauts selected. To date, the NASA astronaut groups are:
Group 01: April 9, 1959 - The Original Seven or The Mercury Seven
Group 02: September 17, 1962 - The New Nine (Also: Nifty Nine)
Group 03: October 17, 1963 - The Fourteen
Group 04: June 28, 1965 - The Scientists
Group 05: April 4, 1966 – The Original 19
Group 06: October 4, 1967 - XS 11 or The "Excess Eleven"
Group 07: August 14, 1969 – (No nickname on record)
Group 08: January 16, 1978 – TFNG (Thirty Five New Guys)
Group 09: May 29, 1980 - (No nickname on record)
Group 10: May 23, 1984 - The Maggots
Group 11: June 4, 1985 – (No nickname on record)
Group 12: June 5, 1987 - The GAFFers
Group 13: January 17, 1990 - The Hairballs
Group 14: March 31, 1992 - The Hogs
Group 15: December 8, 1994 - The Flying Escargot
Group 16: May 1, 1996 - The Sardines
Group 17: June 4, 1998 - The Penguins
Group 18: July 26, 2000 - The Bugs
Group 19: May 6, 2004 - The Peacocks
Group 20: June 29, 2009 – The Chumps
Group 2: The New Nine included Neil Armstrong.
Group 4: The Scientists Included the first medical doctor in space (Joe Kerwin) and many of the folks who ran experiments on Skylab.
Group 6: The "Excess 11" were assigned as backup crew members for the last Apollo missions or as backup for Skylab, though many later flew as Shuttle Mission Specialists.
Group 8: Ironically, the "Thirty Five New Guys", the only gender-specific nickname, included the first American woman in space, Sally Ride.
Group 10: Of this group, main Maggot William Shepherd would become the commander of the first ISS crew (Expedition 1).
Group 12: The nickname GAFFers is an acronym for "George Abbey Final Fifteen".
Group 13: The "Hairballs" nickname came after the class put a black cat on its group patch.
Group 14: Beginning with the Hogs, non-US astronauts representing their home nations' space agencies trained alongside NASA personnel as mission specialists.
Group 16: The "Sardines" were so named because they were the largest class since TFNG's.
Group 17: Garrett Reisman said that "Dodos" was kicked around for a nickname because a dodo is a flightless bird and it would be a while before any of them flew. It was changed to Penguins, another flightless bird, the difference being that dodos are extinct...
Group 18: The Peacocks group was the first to include Educator mission specialists.
Not the last.