How to Become an Astronaut and What It Takes? Advantages & Qualifications
No doubt, being an astronaut, advantages are plenty, but what does it take to become one? Check out job advantages in NASA, ESA and UKSA; along with the time and qualification necessary for becoming a space traveler in any of these organizations.
The advantages of Being an astronaut are numerous, but very few people have what it takes to pass the screening and selection process. For example, in 2020, NASA approved less than 1% of 18,300 astronaut applications; and the situation is more or less the same in other space agencies worldwide. While the actual requirements are not that severe; there is no need to employ many astronauts; which is why only the best of the best make it to the top of this so-desired list. But let’s discuss how to become an astronaut, along with job advantages, in greater detail.
What are the 4 skills you’ll need to be an astronaut?
According to NASA, there are only four essential requirements to qualify for becoming an astronaut. The first one is less about skill, and more about status — all NASA astronauts must be US citizens. If you have citizenship in another country as well, you can still qualify, though. Other requirements include:
1 STEM degree in engineering, biology, computer science, or Math.
2 However, At least two years of previous job experience corresponding to this degree (or at least 1000-hour flight experience for pilots).
3 Passing NASA’s physical test.
As you can see, becoming astronaut qualifications are not as extraordinary as some would imagine, but why do so few people make this list? First, NASA’s tests are pretty rigid, and even if someone is selected for this program; they still qualify as astronaut candidates at first. After that, there is still a lengthy training and testing program; and there is no guarantee that on passing this training; beginning astronauts will actually travel to space. Plus, you’d be surprised that many NASA employees say that the best way to become an astronaut is to work on your resume, which is an equally important part of the screening process. But why would candidates go to such lengths? Is being an astronaut the most dangerous job, and what advantages compensate for this danger?
Being an astronaut, advantages & dangers
Reasons to be an astronaut are different for different candidates, but most people are drawn to this job by their passion for space rather than the high salaries and other advantages associated with being an astronaut. In fact, an astronaut is not even the highest-paying job out there, and NASA pays between $78,681-$102,288, depending on the astronaut’s qualifications and experience. This does not sound too much for risking one’s life, but on the bright side, very few people have died on space missions as of now, and most of those unfortunate accidents go back to the beginning of the space race with its inevitable miscalculations.
Being an astronaut, advantages & requirements in the UK
It’s no secret that Great Britain has been actively investing in new space initiatives, getting ready to become an independent space-faring nation. Online resource Orbital Today has published a detailed account of how to become an astronaut in Great Britain, and the basic requirements are not that different from those in NASA. But, of course, there are a few differences and a set of peculiarities depending on the career you want.
For example, if you dream of becoming a crew member at the International Space Station (ISS), knowledge of the Russian language was a nice perk that could have helped you fulfill your ambitions. Still, after Russia’s announcement about abandoning the ISS project, it is no longer that important.
Another advantage of being an astronaut in Great Britain is that this country closely collaborates with the European Space Agency, while also having a UK Space Agency of its own. This means that all UK citizens can apply to both organizations, boosting their chances of successful employment. However, ESA projects available to UK citizens most not be outside the government and defense sectors.
How many years does it take to become an astronaut?
That mostly depends on where you’d like to find yourself in the rapidly-evolving space industry. First, all astronauts, no matter which country employs them, need a STEM degree that takes 4-6 years to obtain. Add two years of professional experience or the time necessary to clock in all piloting hours, followed by another two years of training in NASA and ESA, and you’re already drawing on ten years of training. Also, keep in mind that space agencies revise potential astronaut applications for almost a year before handpicking an elite crew of candidates.
So, while becoming an astronaut does have plenty of advantages, this path is long and uncertain. What to study if you want to boost your chances of becoming an astronaut? Considering how rapidly the space industry and launch market are growing, any engineering major may come in handy. And, with launching new spaceports in Great Britain, there soon may be more jobs in this niche.