Five Gram-stain-positive, motile, aerobic strains were isolated from a clean room of the Kennedy Space Center where the Phoenix spacecraft was assembled. All strains are rod-shaped, spore-forming bacteria, whose spores were resistant to UV radiation up to 1000 J m(-2). The spores were subterminally positioned and produced an external layer. A polyphasic taxonomic study including traditional biochemical tests, fatty acid analysis, cell-wall typing, lipid analyses, 16S rRNA gene sequencing and DNA-DNA hybridization studies was performed to characterize these novel strains. 16S rRNA gene sequencing and lipid analyses convincingly grouped these novel strains within the genus Bacillus as a cluster separate from already described species. The similarity of 16S rRNA gene sequences among the novel strains was >99 %, but the similarity was only about 97 % with their nearest neighbours Bacillus pocheonensis, Bacillus firmus and Bacillus bataviensis. DNA-DNA hybridization dissociation values were <24 % to the closest related type strains. The novel strains had a G+C content 35.6+/-0.5 mol% and could liquefy gelatin but did not utilize or produce acids from any of the carbon substrates tested. The major fatty acids were iso-C(15 : 0) and anteiso-C(15 : 0) and the cell-wall diamino acid was meso-diaminopimelic acid. Based on phylogenetic and phenotypic results, it is concluded that these strains represent a novel species of the genus Bacillus, for which the name Bacillus horneckiae sp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is 1P01SC(T) (=NRRL B-59162(T) =MTCC 9535(T)).