If becoming an astronaut has always been a dream career for you, making it a reality is possible if you’re willing to put in the hard work. There are educational, personality, and health requirements you’ll have to meet to be eligible for training as an astronaut. This brief overview will tell you the basics of preparing for a career as an astronaut.
Meet Educational Qualifications
Getting work as an astronaut or qualifying for any space job requires you to meet some basic qualifications. First, you must be a citizen of the United States, although NASA will permit candidates to qualify with dual citizenship. One reason for the citizenship requirement is that you will have to attend an accredited school in the U.S. and graduate with a degree in one of the S.T.E.M. disciplines. This means earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science, math, physical or biological science, or engineering. These areas of study are specifically desired because the skills learned in those disciplines will be useful in carrying out space exploration missions.
Get Some Real Work Experience
Once you get the necessary degree, you still won’t be ready to apply for a position as an astronaut. NASA also wants individuals with experience working within their chosen fields so they can avoid having to provide that additional training. When you do apply to be an astronaut, you should already be competent in your career field and confident in your professional abilities. To meet that level of expertise, NASA requires that applicants already have a minimum of two years of work experience in their related fields. As an alternative, you can qualify as a pilot if you have a minimum of 1,000 hours of commanding a jet airplane.
Meet the Physical Requirements
There are also certain physical requirements you’ll have to meet to qualify for astronaut training. One of the most difficult challenges in meeting the requirement for 20/20 vision. If your corrective lenses help you to meet this qualification, you can still pass the vision requirement. Additionally, you cannot suffer from blood pressure problems and must reach a measurement of 140/90 in a resting state. There is also a height requirement of 62 to 75 inches. While this may seem like an unusual requirement, there is a practical reason for the height restrictions. Each candidate must be able to fit into the standard spacesuits, which are used for mobility outside of a space vessel. If your height is outside the established range, you won’t be able to wear the suit and will, therefore, be unable to fulfill your duties.
Participate in a Training Program
Even after you meet these qualifications, you’re still a long way from flying in a space shuttle. Qualifying grants you the title of astronaut candidate and allows you to participate in the training program. Just as there is a “boot camp” for every branch of the military service, there is also a training program for astronaut candidates that are designed to test their strength and endurance. The training program includes classroom training that will teach you the basics of space travel and how to handle the delicate machinery used aboard the vessel. You will also spend a great deal of time training in underwater scenarios because this is a good way to adapt to the differences in gravity.
Wait For Your Turn
Even after graduating from the training program, you will have to be patient and wait for your turn in space. In the meantime, you’ll be assigned to work in a NASA command center. Your exact assignment may depend on your educational background and experience. Additionally, you’ll participate in simulated spacewalks and other simulated procedures that will be used to gather data for the astronauts in space. Your simulated experiences may be crucial in solving problems that are life-threatening for the astronauts in space, so this is a very important role to fulfill.
Even after you earn the title of the astronaut, you may not be selected for space travel and exploration. This is a very competitive field with only a few opportunities to fly aboard a space vessel year after year. However, getting your training now may help you in the future. As space travel becomes privatized, there will be more and more opportunities to explore space.
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