What Does It Take to Become An Astronaut?

Saturday, February 13, 2016



Astronaut Applications opened on December 14, 2015 and are schedule to close on the 18th of this month (February 18, 2016). Now is the perfect time to live out that childhood dream and start your career as an astronaut!

Why is this years application opening different than other years?

Quite simply, big changes and lots of social media promotion. NASA is preparing for some big changes in the upcoming years. Two major changes are bringing back astronaut launches to the United States and preparing to send astronauts to Mars. They're looking for bold and highly qualified applicants who are willing to push boundaries and put forth outstanding effort to be forerunners in this new age of NASA.

NASA currently has 47 active astronauts and with the new application openings they are looking for even more. With all the big upcoming plans, they are preparing for a lot more missions and a lot of prepared astronauts to help lead the way to Mars.

So what does it take to become an astronaut for NASA?

According to a November 2015 Press Release the requirements are quite simple. "Astronaut candidates must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable. Candidates also must have at least three years of related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Astronaut candidates must pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical."

This is what you need:
  1. Citizenship: NASA Astronaut applicants must be citizens or dual-citizenship holders of the United States of America
  2. At LEAST a bachelors degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field
  3. At LEAST three years of professional experience in your degree field (if only holding a bachelors degree) OR a PhD in your field of study OR at least 1k hours of flight time as a jet pilot
  4. An ability to pass the physical: blood pressure, vision, and height requirements
One question that comes up a lot is about the 20/20 vision requirement. In a recent tweet, NASA_Astronauts twitter confirmed that perfect vision from corrective surgery is now okay. (On a side note, read this really interesting article about vision changes that happen to astronauts in space)


The height requirement is a HUGE factor that will eliminate many future applications. The current height requirement is between 62 and 75 inches, or between 5ft 2in and 6ft 3in. So why the restriction? NASA wants to ensure that astronauts will fit into the spacecrafts and space suits. It would be really unfair to hire an applicant only to later realize they are going to be very uncomfortable in the spacecraft or not able to fit into the space suit!

Okay, so my favorite thing about the astronaut applications is that there is no age restriction. While there are some pretty big requirements it is nice to know that any person, regardless of age can apply and be chosen. If only I had been a child genius who had perfect vision and was at least 5ft 2in!

FOLLOW YOUR ASTRONAUT DREAMS

BASICALLY, NASA wants to know that you're dedicated, hard working, and physically fit to get to space and back. They've made it more simple (and easier?) than ever to follow those dreams and apply to be one of the boldest people in the country!

 I really think NASA is opening up the opportunity of becoming an astronaut to so many people. They have been constantly updating all social media about the application, backing those updates up with the simple "NASA astronaut requirements" picture, and making it really see that the application process can be an exciting one. It's also been a great way to promote that career goal and requirements to future astronauts who are currently working toward that goal. I know that I have felt even more inspired and determined by knowing exactly what I need to do and work on in order to apply in the future!

What do you think about the Astronaut Application openings and the future plans NASA has for Astronauts in the program? Comment down below!



Important links:

Astronaut Candidate Program
Astronaut Requirements
Nov 2015 Press Release

Pinterest graphic:


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