You knew this day would come, and hopefully you’ve made some smart choices along the way, because it is time to apply to become an astronaut. Yes, a real-life astronaut.
NASA has announced this week it is hiring and it wants people to explore the Moon and Mars. If that’s you there's just a month to get everything in order as the application launch window is March 2-31.
NASA already has 48 astronauts on the books but it wants more and there is a good chance you might qualify. We’re serious. NASA has dropped a lot of frankly unnecessary requirements, opening the way for dedicated adventurers and explorers to get their dream job.
Let’s go through the list…
- Are you aged between 26 and 46? Great, you’re on your way.
- Do you have a Masters science degree? That includes computer science, engineering, medicine and so on. If so, you’re in. If not, sign up to a test pilot school as soon as possible (so long as the program ends by June 2021, you’re in)
- Are you a man? You’re in.
- Are you a woman? Also in - because NASA isn’t sexist anymore. Woohoo!
- Do you have extensive flying experience? Great. But also, if you don’t - don’t sweat it, you are still eligible. That said, you will end up having to spend a lot of time in a jet, so you should be comfortable with the idea of going very, very fast in a small plane. But let’s be honest, you kinda knew that being an astronaut involved some of that.
- Do you have 20/20 vision? Good for you. But don’t imagine that’s a cut-off either because you’re allowed to wear glasses (so long as you have 20/20 vision with them on) and you are allowed to have had PRK and LASIK eye surgery.
- Are you in good overall health? Great because, for obvious reasons, NASA gently notes that if you have a condition likely to aggravated by spaceflight, it’s probably not a great idea.
- And lastly, are you a US citizen (even dual US citizen)? This one is locked down and NASA even notes that: “It is not recommended that you change your citizenship solely for the purpose of being eligible for the Astronaut Candidate Program.”
To our eyes, that is going to put quite a few Reg readers in the eligibility box and so we would like to strongly encourage you to apply.
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As to what you’d be doing…
“After completing training, the new astronauts could launch on American rockets and spacecraft developed for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to live and work aboard the International Space Station, 250 miles above Earth, where they will take part in experiments that benefit life at home and prepare us for more distant exploration.
“They may also launch on NASA’s powerful new Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, docking the spacecraft at the Gateway in lunar orbit before taking a new human landing system to the Moon’s surface. After returning humans to the Moon in 2024, NASA plans to establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2028. Gaining new experiences on and around the Moon will prepare NASA to send the first humans to Mars in the mid-2030s.”
So, that's, the International Space Station, the Moon and Mars. Oh, and starting salary? Between $105,000 and $160,000. What the hell are you waiting for? Training begins in mid-2021. ®