What did you want to be when you grew up? If you answered an astronaut, you may be in luck. NASA recently opened its HR doors to applications for astronauts.
“If you have dreamed of joining the Astronaut Corps, now is the time to apply. NASA is continuing space exploration programs that will include missions beyond low Earth orbit,” says NASA’s homepage.
Requirements. So, what does it take to become a NASA astronaut? Not surprising, there is high competition for the position. According to the agency, there have been only 330 astronauts selected for the intensive Astronaut Candidate training program since it was started in 1959.
Among other requirements, applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics, as well as 3 years of relevant professional experience OR 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.
Applicants must also meet physical requirements for both the Russian Soyuz vehicle, the vehicle that transports astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), and the extravehicular activity mobility unit, aka space suit.
Job duties. NASA predicts that their astronauts will continue to work aboard the ISS; help to build and fly a new NASA vehicle, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV); and work with partners to provide a commercial capability for space transportation to the space station.
According to the site, astronauts may even get the chance to explore a visiting asteroid.
Compensation. The job, which is open until January 27, 2012, has a salary range of $64,724 to $141,715.
This is the first extraterrestrial job opening we’ve reported on. Robert Bigelow, owner of Budget Suites of America, posted recruitment notices for his self-funded orbital space complex.
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