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Here’s how to apply to be a NASA astronaut

Published Mar 2nd, 2020 9:09PM EST
astronaut application
Image: NASA

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NASA needs new astronauts. You want to be an astronaut. The only thing standing between you and your dream is a simple application. Okay, so maybe that’s not entirely true, but NASA really is asking for new astronaut applicants and if you fit the bill, filling out the application is the first step.

The current callout for astronaut hopefuls could fill seats on missions to the Moon or even Mars. These are some pretty important gigs, and you’ll need to meet a long list of requirements if you want to have any chance of being considered, but I’m telling you there’s a chance it could be you. Exciting, isn’t it?

“America is closer than any other time in history since the Apollo program to returning astronauts to the Moon. We will send the first woman and next man to the lunar South Pole by 2024, and we need more astronauts to follow suit on the Moon, and then Mars,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

“We’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to join us in this new era of human exploration that begins with the Artemis program to the Moon. If you have always dreamed of being an astronaut, apply now.”

Sounds simple enough, right? Just “apply now” and you’re in, right? Well… not so fast. NASA’s prerequisites for becoming an astronaut are pretty strict. Take a look for yourself:

The basic requirements to apply include United States citizenship and a master’s degree in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics, from an accredited institution. The requirement for the master’s degree can also be met by:

  • Two years (36 semester hours or 54 quarter hours) of work toward a Ph.D. program in a related science, technology, engineering or math field;
  • A completed doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree;
  • Completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2021) of a nationally or internationally recognized test pilot school program. However, if test pilot school is your only advanced degree, you must also have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a STEM field.

Okay, okay, so you have to be really smart. But is that it? No, unfortunately, that’s only half of the must-haves…

Candidates also must have at least two 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.

Oh, come on! You have to be super smart AND be a pilot? Well, that narrows the list of would-be candidates down considerably (I’m super smart, obviously, but flying makes me throw up). If you somehow fit the bill, you can go ahead and toss your hat into the NASA ring on the USA Jobs website. Good luck!

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