Apply to be an Astronaut

Posted on November 15, 2011  Comments (3)

Are you looking to change jobs? NASA is seeking outstanding scientists, engineers, and other talented professionals to carry forward the great discovery process that its mission demands. Creativity. Ambition. Teamwork. A sense of daring. Curiosity. That’s what it takes to join NASA, one of the best places to work in the Federal Government.

photo of astronaut's faceplate reflecting earth

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a need for Astronaut Candidates to support the International Space Station Program and future deep space exploration activities.

In 1959 NASA selected its first group of 7 astronaut candidates. Since then 20 additional classes have been selected; bringing the total number of astronaut candidates to 330.

The astronauts of the 21st century will continue to work aboard the International Space Station in cooperation with our international partners; help to build and fly a new NASA vehicle, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) designed for human deep space exploration; and further NASA’s efforts to partner with industry to provide a commercial capability for space transportation to the space station.

NASA is in the process of identifying possible near-Earth asteroids to explore with the goal of visiting an asteroid in 2025. With that goal, and keeping in mind that the plan is to send a robotic precursor mission to the asteroid approximately five years before humans arrive, NASA will need to select the first set of targets to explore within the next decade.

Requirement include: Applicants for the Astronaut Candidate Program must meet the basic education requirements for NASA engineering and scientific positions, specifically: successful completion of standard professional curriculum in an accredited college or university leading to at least a bachelor’s degree with major study in an appropriate field of engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics.

Related: NASA Robotics AcademyNASA’s Mars Curiosity RoverAstronaut Drops a Hammer and Feather on the Moon


Following a qualifying degree, at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience or at least 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. An advanced degree is desirable and may be substituted for experience as follows: master’s degree = 1 year of experience, doctoral degree = 3 years of experience. Teaching experience, including experience at the K – 12 levels, is considered to be qualifying experience for the Astronaut Candidate position; therefore, educators are encouraged to apply.

Starting pay is $64,724 to $141,715 per year.

Applicants may be required to obtain a pre-employment medical examination. A week-long process of interviews, medical screening, and orientation will be required for applicants under final consideration. Further interviews and a complete medical evaluation will be conducted prior to selection.

Astronaut Candidates will be required to pass a swimming test during the first month of training. Selected applicants will be designated Astronaut Candidates and will undergo a training and evaluation period lasting approximately 2 years.

Selection into the Astronaut Candidate Program does not guarantee selection as an astronaut. Final selection as an astronaut will depend upon satisfactory completion of the training and evaluation period. Graduation from the Astronaut Candidate Program will require successful completion of the following: International Space Station systems training, Extravehicular Activity skills training, Robotics skills training, Russian language training, and aircraft flight readiness training.

Photo: great self portrait of an Astronaut

3 Responses to “Apply to be an Astronaut”

  1. Blake
    November 16th, 2011 @ 9:14 am

    Being an astronaut is one of my dreams when I was a child. Too bad it’s too late for me now but I wish I could visit the moon and stars someday.

  2. Gil
    November 19th, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

    Hopefully some lucky austronaut will be able to reach Mars or some other place, would be nice to find some sort of life evidence in the future. We may not be here when that time comes.

  3. Anonymous
    December 8th, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    “Creativity. Ambition. Teamwork. A sense of daring. Curiosity. That’s what it takes to join NASA, one of the best places to work in the Federal Government.”

    i think they’ve missed smth… ;)

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