Becoming an Astronaut

It’s a dream of many boys and girls. While the majority change their mind, ending up at as workers in earthly environments, some travel the outer space to gain their paycheck. Whether you dream of being the first person on Mars, or love the idea of travelling in space, getting the job demands hard work. Here’s a short guide on how to become an astronaut.

  1. Fundamentals

Firstly, you’ll need to be a citizen of a country sending people to space. If that one’s covered, you’ll need to be within the age limit (26-46), height limit (153 to 190cm) and pass the visual screening test. Note that the use of glasses is acceptable! In addition to fulfilling these requirements, you’ll need to speak English, because communication is an important part of the job. Knowing Russian could be helpful too, as Russia is active in space. To prepare for gravitational changes you’ll have to go through survival training in water. In other words: you need to know how to swim.

  1. Education

To even be considered a potential astronaut you’re going to need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, bioscience, physical or computer science or mathematics. Additionally, you’ll need three years of related work experience or at least 1000 hours of pilot-in-command time on a jet aircraft. These are requirements for US citizens applying at NASA. Since the competition is hard, having good grades in every subject is highly relevant. You’re also going to need skills in teamwork, leadership and communications. Should you be accepted for the first interview, pass through to round two and be selected, you’ll enter a two-year period of hard training.

  1. Brace Yourself

Yes, it’s going to be tough. Becoming an astronaut, you’ll need to spend two years of tough training, preparing for your first space travel. Being an astronaut means you’re going to spend longer periods of time away from those you love, isolated in a space craft. Sure, you’re going to travel in a team, you won’t be all by yourself. But, that also means you’re going to spend every single day with this team. That’s going to be an emotional and psychologically demanding experience.

Tip: Join the Military

If you want to become an astronaut, joining the military is a great option. This doesn’t make it easier for you to get the job, but you’ll get physical and psychological training that somewhat prepares you for what space travelling entails. Also, you’ll have the opportunity to work with aircrafts. That’s another requirement potentially checked right there.

Applying

Finally, to become an astronaut, you’ll need to apply for the job. If you’re a US civilian, go to usajobs.gov and apply. Military personnel, on the other hand, submit their applications to their authorities. Don’t worry if you get denied the first time. Clay Anderson, retired astronaut and author of “The Ordinary Spaceman”, was denied 14 times before he got accepted! His story tells you the importance of never giving up. If you have a dream of becoming an astronaut, and do fulfill the physical requirements, why don’t you give it a go? Someone must get the job done. Why shouldn’t you be one of them?