How To Become an Astronaut (With Steps, FAQs and Related Careers) |

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How To Become an Astronaut (With Steps, FAQs and Related Careers)

By indeed Editorial Team

June 4, 2021TwitterLinkedInFacebookEmail Being an astronaut is a highly competitive selective profession. Every year, qualified candidates compete in a rigorous application serve to fill a identical limited number of spots. In this article, we explore what an astronaut does, how astronaut educate, career requirements and how to become one. Related : How To Find Your passion

What is an astronaut?

The term “ astronaut ” translates to “ sailor among stars. ” An astronaut is a particularly train and equip person who travels into space as part of a space plan. Since 1959, astronauts have been a part of the United States distance course of study National Aeronautics and Space Administration, good known as NASA. NASA uses “ astronaut ” to describe any crew member aboard a NASA spacecraft or members of the NASA Astronaut Corps. NASA selects astronauts from a diverse consortium of applicants with a wide assortment of backgrounds. From the thousands of applications received, only a few are chosen for the intensive astronaut candidate discipline program. Though there is no historic period necessity, U.S. astronauts are normally 26 to 46 years previous with an average age of 34. The youngest accept candidate is a 16-year-old female child educate for a mission to Mars. early U.S. astronauts were military personnel who had experience flying jet airplanes and backgrounds in mastermind. In 1964, scientist-astronauts were added, requiring a doctor’s degree in medicate, engineering, physics, chemistry or biota. Astronauts are typically trained by military branches, such as the Air Force or Space Force, or civilian quad agencies. NASA astronauts are placid required to have a overlord ’ sulfur degree but the field has been opened to hire civilian teachers, doctors, journalists and others. commercial astronauts are a holocene accession as privately funded space flights are on the originate .

How are astronauts trained?

astronaut applicants are first reviewed by the NASA Astronaut Selection Board. If they are selected as an astronaut candidate, they will spend two years training at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, to serve on U.S. or external distance missions. They then wait, sometimes for years, to be selected for a distance mission. When they aren ’ thymine in space, astronaut work on the labor to support other NASA projects .

What do astronauts do?

An astronaut is trained to be the pilot of a spacecraft or to fly in one. They are typically selected and trained at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, to serve on U.S. or international outer space missions. once you ’ ve completed train, you must then be selected for a mission. Mission duties may include :

  • Commanding decisions
  • Piloting spacecraft
  • Conducting experiments
  • Maintaining the spacecraft
  • Providing aesculapian and hand brake services to crew members
  • Walking in space to maintain the spacecraft
  • Operating a space station
  • Controlling robotic arms and machinery
  • Exercising casual
  • Working as a team to complete tasks

Types of astronauts

There are three categories of astronauts with NASA. They include :

  • Astronaut candidates : These individuals have been selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps and are in training at Johnson Space Center .
  • active astronauts : Active astronauts are those who have completed astronaut candidate discipline and are eligible for flight assignment .
  • management astronauts : These astronauts are NASA employees but are no longer eligible for flight assignments .

Requirements for astronauts

To ensure that the right candidates are selected, the requirements for astronaut positions are rigorous .


Astronaut candidates must be U.S. citizens. dual citizenship is permitted.


astronaut applicants must have a overlord ’ s degree in a skill, technology, engineer or mathematics ( STEM ) program from an accredit university. That requirement can be met with 36 semester hours toward a doctoral plan in a STEM field, such as a skill, technical or mechanics degree ; a completed doctor of Medicine ( M.D ) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine ( D.O. ) degree ; or completion of a nationally recognized test pilot school course of study. Related : Choosing a Master ’ s Degree To Fit Your Career Goals

Professional experience requirements

Astronaut candidates must have at least two years or related professional experience after obtaining their academic degree or possess at least 1,000 hours as the pilot in command on jet aircraft. They besides must pass the NASA long-duration flight astronaut physical .

Physical requirements

Astronaut candidates must meet respective physical requirements, including :

  • eyesight : distant and near ocular acuteness correctly to 20/20 in each eye. Glasses are acceptable .
  • blood pressure : Resting blood press of 140/90 or better
  • acme : typically between 62 inches ( 5 feet, 2 inches ) and 75 inches ( 6 feet, 3 inches ) tall
  • physical seaworthiness : constitute in good physical form according to old age and sex .

Astronauts must fit into a spacesuit and spacecraft, so specific physical limits may be set for stature, weight and consistency size .

How to become an astronaut

If you want to become an astronaut, take these steps :

1. Create a plan that includes school and experience

Start with a career plan. Astronauts can fall into one of two categories : military or civilian. Based on the requirements above, both military and civilian astronauts should have alumnus degrees in technical academics like biological physical skill, science, calculator skill or engineering. If you take the military route, you will be poised to complete your education through the military. Higher education courses are offered through respective federal programs, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, or educational institutions like the U.S. Air Force Academy. civilian applicants may apply after a dominate ’ s degree in one of the above-mentioned programs, hold a checkup degree or spend two years as a doctoral student in a skill, engineering, mastermind or mathematics battlefield. After you ‘ve achieved a degree, you will either need relevant work experience or pilot hours. Another benefit of going into the astronaut program after joining the military is the military can account for your experience and education. The majority of astronaut pilots come from military backgrounds where they log hours of trail and completing missions. Read more : Joining the military : Factors To Consider

2. Get in peak physical shape

Astronauts are required to meet rigorous physical demands, so they must stay in shape. If you are preparing to be an astronaut, you should make health and fitness a precedence in your daily everyday to ready yourself for the demands of the job and physical screening requirements .

3. Apply for NASA’s candidate selection

once you ‘re sure you can meet physical, educational and feel requirements, apply for NASA ‘s campaigner selection. The application follow-up work can typically take up to 60 days, per NASA ‘s web site, so do not be alarmed if you do n’t hear back right away. Astronaut positions with NASA are highly competitive then make certain you have done your best in all tests and screenings .

4. Train for flight

If you are selected as an astronaut candidate, you will need to complete comprehensive examination deputation coach before you enter a flight mission. basic training takes two years, is largely classroom-based and includes things like learning about outer space stations, vehicles and equipment. Astronauts must besides complete survival discipline outside the classroom, like to military train. In the irregular phase of train, the mission is selected and astronauts are paired with veteran astronauts. New astronauts are grouped with their more experience counterparts to learn how to launch a mission successfully, pre-launch activities, entry into sphere and more. Advanced train occurs when astronauts receive crew and mission assignments. It lasts 10 months and involves training for your specific function as part of the larger team .

Frequently asked questions about astronauts

How much are astronauts paid?

The pay of an astronaut will depend on your employment condition in the military or expertness as a civilian astronaut. If you are a penis of the military, you will not receive “ pay ” as an astronaut. You are paid according to your military rank. civilian astronauts are considered government employees and salaries are based on the federal General Schedule pay up scales for grades GS-13 through GS-15. A GS-13 can earn up to $ 103,309 per class while a GS-14 can earn $ $ 122,077, according to The top-level GS-15 wage is $ 143,598 per year. Related : What Is an Astronaut ’ s Salary ?

How long does it take to become an astronaut?

approximately 10 years. It breaks down to four years for college, two years for a master ’ second degree, two years of professional experience and then two years in the NASA Astronaut Corps .

Is flying experience necessary?

Flying experience is not required, buy any flight experience, military or individual, is beneficial. Obtaining 1,000 hours of piloting a jet aircraft meets NASA ’ s “ professional experience ” requirement. Jet aircraft experience is normally obtained through the military .

How do I apply to be an astronaut?

Active-duty military personnel and civilians must besides submit their application through USAJOBs. Military personnel besides are required to notify their commanders of their concern in the space platform .

What are some tips to increase the chances of being selected as an astronaut candidate?

  • Earn one or more advance degrees in aerospace-related engineering/technology fields
  • teach or function in an engineering/technology field for a few years
  • Learn russian
  • Earn aqualung certification and know
  • Earn hand brake medical technician ( EMT ) training

Related careers

here are some careers within the space industry :

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