Today NASA Begins to Take New Astronaut Applications. Do You Qualify?


Do you want to be an astronaut? Of course you do. The real question is, do you have what it takes? You just might.

In preparation for an upcoming expedition to Mars, NASA has put up maybe the best job posting in the galaxy, for "a new class of astronauts." The agency begins accepting applications today, December 14. 

To be considered for your childhood (OK, adulthood) dream job, you have to be a U.S. citizen, and you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in engineering, biology, physics, computer science, or math. Additional advanced degrees are preferred, and you should have at least three years of relevant professional experience, or at least 1000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft.

After that, eligible participants have to pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical. Requirements in that particular area include vision must be correctable to 20/20 in each eye (glasses and LASIK are okay), blood pressure under 140/90 measured in a sitting position, and height somewhere between 62 and 75 inches. In other words, it takes a lot just to get to the interview stage (which itself is a week-long process).

Applications for the positions will be accepted today through mid-February, and those selected won’t be announced until 2017. You can learn more about the requirements here, and apply through USAJOBS.

Those selected will go on to do things like visit the International Space Station, travel on two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development, or hop aboard NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration spacecraft. They’ll also join the elite ranks of more than 300 astronauts selected into the program. There are currently 47 astronauts in the active corps, and the last selection was in 2013.  

If all this has taken the wind out of your cosmic aspiration sails, here’s a bit of good news: there’s no age restriction on applicants, so no matter your years, you have a couple of months to get a science degree, fix your eyesight, and apply. 

“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said last month in a press release. “Those selected for this service will fly on U.S. made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space.”

Hear more from Bolden in the recruitment video below.