NASA wants you to apply for its open astronaut positions before it’s too late

STS-54 Mission Specialist Greg Harbaugh (red stripe) and Mission Specialist Mario Runco, both wearing their space suits, pose with Mission Specialist Susan Helms as they emerge from the mid-deck airlock with Helms' assistance. Harbaugh and Runco returned from a series of EVA tasks designed to increase NASA's knowledge of working in space. They tested their abilities to move about freely in the cargo bay, climb into foot restraints without using their hands, and to carry large objects in microgravity. Photo via NASA

STS-54 Mission Specialist Greg Harbaugh (red stripe) and Mission Specialist Mario Runco, both wearing their space suits, pose with Mission Specialist Susan Helms as they emerge from the mid-deck airlock with Helms’ assistance on Jan. 18, 1993. Harbaugh and Runco returned from a series of EVA tasks designed to increase NASA’s knowledge of working in space. They tested their abilities to move about freely in the cargo bay, climb into foot restraints without using their hands, and to carry large objects in microgravity. Photo via NASA

Looking for a dream job? NASA has an application out for aspiring astronauts, but today is the last day you can apply.

The position, which is listed as full-time, pays $66,026.00 to $144,566.00 per year, according to the application. There are a few spots open for astronaut candidates at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. The job description includes extensive training (it takes two to three years to prepare for a three to six month mission on the International Space Station) long periods of travel in other countries, and being the public face of NASA.

NASA requires applicants bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics. NASA will not consider degrees from other fields, such as technology, nursing or social sciences.

You also need to have a lot of flying time or an advanced degree.

A rating panel (made up of “discipline experts”) will read the applications and rate applications as “qualified” or “highly qualified.” If your application is “highly qualified,” you move on to the next round.

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NASA will then ensure you are medically qualified (you need 20/20 vision, but also are allowed to wear glasses) and put you through interviews and orientation. The panel looks for things such as mental/emotional stability, performance under stressful conditions and teamwork skill, and then selects the “best qualified” applicants. Those people are ranked on a combination of the panel’s evaluations and their interviews.

A slide from a presentation presented at the 122nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association on August 8, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Photo via NASA

This  slide from a presentation explains the demographics of astronauts selected over the years, and was presented at the 122nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association on August 8, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Photo via NASA

NASA wants the best of the best to continue their legacy.

“The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. spacecraft during their careers: the International Space Station (ISS), two new commercial spacecraft being built by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle,” the application reads. “NASA is in the midst of an unprecedented transition to using commercial spacecraft for its scheduled crew and cargo transport to the ISS. For the last 15 years, humans have been living continuously aboard the orbiting laboratory, expanding scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies. Future crewmembers will continue this work.”

Expedition 46 Flight Engineer Tim Kopra on a Dec. 21, 2015 spacewalk, in which Kopra and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly successfully moved the International Space Station's mobile transporter rail car ahead of Wednesday's docking of a Russian cargo supply spacecraft. Photo via NASA

Expedition 46 Flight Engineer Tim Kopra on a Dec. 21, 2015 spacewalk, in which Kopra and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly successfully moved the International Space Station’s mobile transporter rail car ahead of Wednesday’s docking of a Russian cargo supply spacecraft. Photo via NASA

“Additionally, the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, now in development, will launch astronauts on missions to the proving ground of lunar orbit where NASA will learn to conduct complex operations in a deep space environment before moving on to longer duration missions on the journey to Mars.”

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That’s right, Mars.

What are you waiting for? Apply now!


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